Andrew Green

Andrew Green is a Prospect publishing fellow.

Recent Articles

Where's Our Domestic AIDS Plan?

The U.S. expects other countries to put together a national AIDS plan before they receive funding. But we don't even have our own national AIDS strategy.

Before the United States will consider giving AIDS funding to another country, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief requires the foreign government to create and implement a national AIDS strategy. "At the core of the implementation strategy," the requirements explain, "is a robust ongoing in-country planning effort" meant to "identify relevant U.S. government agencies, existing resources, needs, gaps, partners, programs, objectives, performance measures, staffing, and technical assistance requirements." A national AIDS strategy, the requirements conclude, is "critical to the success" of the program. It is so critical, in fact, that U.S. officials might want to follow their own advice. More than a quarter-century since AIDS was detected in the United States the government has never fully implemented a strategic plan here at home. Meanwhile, domestic infection rates haven't fallen in more than a decade and, as recently as 2005, more than 17,000 people died from the virus. "We...

NEEDLE EXCHANGE A GO IN D.C.

Locally funded needle exchange is officially returning to Washington. Dr. Shannon Hader , the District's HIV/AIDS czar, yesterday named the four groups who will share $494,000 in funding. The majority of the funding is slated for PreventionWorks!, the only organization in D.C. that was doing needle exchange during a decade-long, federally imposed funding ban specifically targeting the nation's capital. For the other three groups, the funding will allow them to incorporate needle exchange into their existing programs. Though the funding amount is less than the $650,000 Mayor Adrian Fenty announced in a January press conference, the announcement is still a relief following rumors that few agencies in the District were prepared to take on needle exchange. The services could be critical in D.C. as the city attempts to combat a reemergence of HIV/AIDS, while successful implementation could spur policymakers to finally lift the broader federal funding ban, as well. -- Andrew Green

AN UNLIKELY HERO IN SOUTH AFRICA

There's an unusual hero emerging from the morass that is contemporary Zimbabwe: Jacob Zuma . The president of South Africa's African National Congress party, and presidential heir apparent, this week stepped up his criticism of the Zimbabwean government and President Robert Mugabe, calling for the release of results from last month's presidential election. Zuma as hero is something of a role reversal. Headlines in the past have dwelt on his ridiculous - and dangerous - understanding of HIV transmission and his questionable ethics. Nevertheless, it's refreshing to see at least one member of the ANC's current crop of leaders willing to call to account the dictatorial regime to their north. Christopher Hitchens does an excellent job of explaining why members of the ANC have been loath to speak out against Mugabe. But while President Thabo Mbeki and Co. held their tongues, Zimbabwe went over the edge. The economy tanked, democratic processes were stifled (often violently), and citizens...

CONGRESS SEES THE LIGHT ON AIDS TRAVEL BAN. BUT WILL THE ADMINISTRATION?

First Congress lifted the ban on needle-exchange funding in D.C. last December. Then yesterday brought news that lawmakers might lift a decades-old ban against HIV-positive people visiting or immigrating to the United States. What’s happening on the Hill? Are legislators ceding their bunker-mentality approach to domestic AIDS policy? As the Houston Chronicle reports , since 1987 the United States has imposed severe restrictions on HIV-positive foreigners. They are not allowed to immigrate to or even visit the United States “unless they qualify for narrowly defined waivers.” The Senate Foreign Relations committee tacked the amendment to lift the ban onto the president’s global AIDS relief package, which will be up for debate in the Senate shortly, and Congress seems likely to lift the ban. Of course, President Bush will still have to sign the bill and the Department of Health and Human Services, which has final say over the list of diseases that bar entry into the United States, will...

IS FUNDING FOR AIDS VACCINES A BUST?

The most promising AIDS vaccine in the pipeline was a bust -- and might actually have put participants in field tests at greater risk of becoming infected. Other trials of similar vaccines have also been called off, which raises an important question: is funding for AIDS vaccines a waste of money? It also raises the question of where to direct funding for HIV/AIDS prevention. Should it go to long-shot vaccines or other, more proven prevention methods, like condom distribution and community awareness campaigns? The Washington Post reports that the National Institutes of Health directed $497 million of its annual budget towards AIDS vaccine research this year. That money could have bought a lot of condoms. But the debate is a bit misguided. It’s unlikely that NIH funding or Big Pharma money aimed at finding a vaccine would ever be redirected toward prevention and education campaigns. Rather, the vaccine’s failure serves notice that a panacea is still years, if not decades away. And...

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