A group of researchers write, “To effectively respond to this pandemic, HIV / AIDS must be treated as both an emergency and a long-term developmental issue” (Da Cruz, Da Cruz & Hammers, 2007). First, additional research must be developed to help find an ultimate cure for this disease. This would be the ultimate form of control and eradication, and would eliminate this social problem from the world.
However, this research is costly and takes time. Simply developing drugs that help combat the disease effectively has taken decades, and there is still no cure or preventative for AIDS, other than abstinence. There is an office of AIDS research in the Federal Government that coordinates research and development activities, and there is research under way to help develop an AIDS vaccine to prevent the disease. Research should be heavily funded, and if federal funds are not available, they should be sought through the private sector. Millionaire Bill Gates notably gave several million dollars to AIDS research several years ago, and others could be encouraged to do the same to that research and development is sped up and a cure comes faster. The faster a cure or vaccine is developed, the more lives will be saved around the world.
Research is one key to AIDS eradication, but another important step in the process is prevention. Most young people are aware of the AIDS virus today, and many take precautions, such as always wearing a condom or never sharing drug needles. However, education is not as evident in many other countries around the world, and it seems as if this is another compelling way to stop the spread of the disease and eventually eradicate it. This would help save lives, but also eliminate the social aspects and costs of the disease, which are massive, especially in undeveloped countries that struggle with poverty and have few resources to combat the disease. The researchers continue, “The devastation caused by HIV / AIDS not only has a human cost, it also has a serious social impact on every nation-state touched by this disease” (Da Cruz, Da Cruz, and Hammers, 2007).
Sadly, most of the victims of AIDS range from about 15 to 49-years-of-age, which means it is the young generation that is growing up and passing the disease on to their children (Da Cruz, Da Cruz, and Hammers, 2007). Educational programs, especially in these countries, might take a while to develop, but ultimately, they could help people better understand the disease and its implications, and it could give them tools, such as condoms, to prevent the disease. Many groups preach “abstinence” as the best prevention of the disease, but that is simply not relevant in many cases. Therefore, educational programs and solid tools to help prevent the disease make more sense, and could help save more lives, as well.
AIDS is a pandemic that continues to spread uncontrolled in many areas of the world. Therefore, research and education must continue and grow if this pandemic is ever to be fully eliminated. Increased research funds, combined with a much stronger push for education and prevention in undeveloped countries can help eradicate AIDS in our lifetime, and that is a goal that should be met if at all possible.
In conclusion, HIV / AIDS is still one of the most pervasive diseases facing the world today. Much has been done to raise awareness and attempt to find a cure for the disease, but much more must be done to truly eradicate it from the planet. The United States has led the way in AIDS research and awareness, and AIDS has actually dropped in the U.S. since the 1990s, which means solutions can be found to help control and then eradicate the disease. However, many people do not seem to understand the global implications of the disease, so more education and awareness is necessary to help get rid of AIDS once and for all.
Da Cruz, J.D., Da Cruz, B.K., & Hammers, C. (2007). HIV / AIDS: The pandemic hits the sleeping giant. International Social Science Review, 82(1-2), 55+.
Editors. (2008). AIDS. Retrieved 8 Feb. 2008 from the AIDS.gov Web site: http://www.aids.gov/.