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AIDS epidemic should be treated as a disaster

In September, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the HIV/AIDS epidemic a global health emergency requiring a rapid scaled-up treatment response, but researchers in this week's BMJ argue that governments should go one step further and treat it as a disaster.

In fact, governments should be encouraged and rewarded for adopting a disaster response to HIV and AIDS, they say.

Declaring a state of emergency in a country plagued by HIV and AIDS could speed up the response. It would overcome barriers to co-operation and facilitate access to cheaper drugs. Resources could also be better co-ordinated, eliminating duplication and ensuring everyone is working to the same goal.

However, declaring a state of emergency forces the government to publicly admit that their country is in a vulnerable condition, which may lead to strained international trade ties, add the authors.

"We hope, however, that our suggestions will provide a basis for generating new thinking and a better co-ordinated, more effective and timely response to the mounting HIV/AIDS crisis," they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Dickinson
edickinson@bmj.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
6-Nov-2003


Page: 1

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