We need to do more to help stop AIDS

Editor:

Dec. 1 was World AIDS Day. It reminds us of the daunting number of people who are infected with HIV/AIDS: 40 million.

It reminds us of the deplorable number of people who have died from AIDS worldwide: 20 million.

These numbers are difficult to comprehend, and many times we are left feeling overwhelmed and helpless. What can I do?

But there are solutions. In 2002, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was established to defeat these diseases that together kill 6 million people a year. The GFATM is a public-private partnership, which, in only three years, has funded 350 grants to health projects around the world.

It is projected that in 2007, 1.8 million HIV/AIDS patients will be reached with antiretroviral medicines. This is six-fold the amount of people that are being reached today. Our government has pledged to donate a third of the needed budget to fund these lifesaving health projects-but we are falling short of our promise.

I urge our Utah delegation and the Congress to fully fund the GFATM. This is not only a moral question, but it is also a question of economic prosperity. A healthy global population begets a healthy global economy.

We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity before us. But millions of people will die if we refuse to act.

Leah Vinton

Senior, Political Science/Spanish