Friday, May 22, 2009

some promise

The Globe and Mail published an article this morning about the number of babies born in the developing world with AIDS. Despite a global promise to reduce the transmission of AIDS from mother to child, there are currently 900 babies born each day who have the virus.

How has it come to be that barely one third of the 1.5 million pregnant and HIV infected women in Africa receive the simple drug treatment that would protect their babies?Of this small proportion, only 8% are actually given the full course of treatment. Rather than working to spread awareness about the dangers of unprotected sex or setting up the infrastructure that could provide these women with medical treatment or abortions (both of which could save the lives of millions of women and children), the conservative world order has instead spent the past eight years throwing money at abstinence-only education. Texas alone spent an American national high of $17 million in 2008.

Let me put this in perspective. A one-year course of HIV drug treatment for one person costs as little as $92 (for a generic brand). The amount of money spent in Texas alone on abstinence-only sex ed could provide 184 782 people with this one year course of treatment!

There really is no excuse for the number of HIV and AIDS infected babies that are being born every day. If the problem was taking place on this scale in a developed country, you can be damn sure that Western governments would hop to the task of stemming the veritable epidemic. Unfortunatly, it seems to be the case that the governments of developed Western states care little, if at all, for the suffering of the developing world.

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