If you have heard Stephen Lewis speak, you also know it doesn't have to be this way. If you are a woman who is pregnant with HIV/AIDS there are drugs which will reduce, by ninety per-cent, the possibility of your unborn baby contracting the virus from you. In Canada, you would get that drug as a mere matter of course, besides the anti-retroviral drugs, in other parts of the world you will not. In some countries it isn't even the economics of that particular drug, it's just not policy. This leads to the crux of HIV/AIDS, there are socio-economic issues which make this disease more complicated than, for example, SARS. HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, for the most part, and nice people don't talk about sex. Nice people don't talk about sex even in some societies where, for 25% of woman their first sexual experience is forced. If you live in that society, what does absinence mean to you? There are also gender power issues. If you live in a society where some people are viewed as property, what does it mean to hand out condoms, if you don't have the power to insist your sexual partner use one?
The slogan of this year's conference is "Time to Deliver". My Prime Minister couldn't be bothered to show up at the conference, in his stead, the Health Minister shows up and promises to "review" a law that was supposed to allow generic drugs to be manufactured and shipped to people who are dying. Let me repeat that: The Health Minister promised to "review" the law that was supposed to allow generic drugs to be manufactured and shipped to people who are dying. When the AIDS conference is over, what do you think will happen to that review?
You can send your comments by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write or fax the Prime Minister’s office at:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Or you could contact the Minister of Health, the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister's Office - Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada