Global Problem, Local Action

by Richard Callahan | 11/5/02 6:00am

To the Editor:

During this year's hotly contested and extremely important Senate race, one critical issue, the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, has been conspicuous in its absence. Forty million people currently live with HIV or AIDS, and more than 8,000 die every day. Even while medicines can be generically produced for less than a dollar per day, the president of Botswana has noted that his country faces extinction.

Our response, both individually and as a country, has been muted by a misconception that the problem is somehow far away. Yet painful events like Sept. 11 remind us that the world is much smaller than we think and destabilizing forces in other countries constitute a clear and present danger to the United States. AIDS is just as menacing as terrorism, if not more so. It is a weapon of mass destruction, unbridled and unseen and we ignore it at our peril.

At a time when we desperately need leadership in fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, I am voting for John Sununu on Tuesday. As a moderate Republican with prior experience deciding foreign aid appropriations, he can forge bipartisan support in the Senate for funding HIV/AIDS treatment programs at home and abroad. My vote is not a mandate for the status quo, however, as Rep. Sununu and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle have allowed the war on terror to limit their response to this crisis. For the sake of our future, it is time for Mr. Sununu to fund the fight against global AIDS.