Friday, August 18, 2006


The International AIDS Conference wound up Friday. Although Prime Minister Harper had initially refused his invitation, some were hopeful that he might change his mind and make an appearance. Failing that, he might have made an announcement regarding increased spending and new initiatives for AIDS research and prevention. I thought that at least he'd disclose an agreement to continue funding safe injection sites and needle exchanges, since drug users are one of the fastest-growing risk groups for AIDS.

Instead, a government spokesman said that there would be no announcements about AIDS this week, because the issue had become so politicized. Well, no shit: I can't remember a time when AIDS wasn't a political issue. For some reason, it's always been a struggle to get governments to start treating AIDS as the global health disaster that it is. 25 million people is more than 4 Holocausts, more than 3 Spanish Flus. The Holocaust (6 million) and the 1918 flu pandemic (8 million) are regarded as 2 of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, so what's 25 million? I don't get it. Maybe the number is just too big for people to get their heads around.

I didn't vote for Harper, and I strongly disagree with most of his views, but he's the Prime Minister and as such it's his responsibility to deal with the issues that concern Canadians. AIDS is one of these issues, and Harper is not doing his job.