AIDS fight not for financial gain
A SWEDISH HIV/AIDS ambassador has said combating the pandemic should not attract competition that is based on financial gains.
Lennarth Hjeimaker said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the competition should be based on how best the spread of HIV/AIDS could be stopped or at least minimised.
He also urged poor countries to generate their own resources to supplement what the international community puts in the efforts to prevent further spread of HIV/AIDS, care and treatment.
“There is no disease that has attracted so much discrimination and stigma like HIV and AIDS. It is, therefore, important that we tackle HIV/AIDS from the prevention point of view because the disease is a complex one, and yet there is too much competition for the money,” he said.
Making it compete for financial reasons either in itself or against other diseases like malaria would not be healthy.
Mr Hjeimaker, who is from the ministry of foreign affairs in Sweden, is in Zambia for a three-day Sweden – Norway HIV/AIDS group workshop on
“Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care for Africa – How Can We Can Make it Happen”, taking place at Lusaka’s Intercontinental hotel.
He said while in Sweden, HIV/AIDS infections were not as high as in many African nations, Sweden decided to put HIV/AIDS high on its agenda.
While HIV/AIDS was a medical ailment like any other disease like malaria, it was different because of its complex nature.
“There is need to talk about issues like sexual equality, men having sex with men (MSM), sexuality, sex workers (men and women), etc. Talking openly about these issues will certainly help and everybody must be involved.
“We need a broader approach that is all-inclusive. The Church leaders, political leaders, the youth, faith-based organisations (FBOs), and many others. Only then can we deal with this complex issue,” said.
Issues of HIV/AIDS should not be simplified by saying AIDS is only a medical problem and yet it was a complex issue that desires working together among bilateral, multinationals, civil society, and Zambia
He said his role as Swedish ambassador on HIV/AIDS was to promote dialogue with people, Government leaders, civil society, business community, youths and schools on how best “we can work together.”
[Times of Zambia]