The Pope Should Visit Atlanta to Address the U.S. HIV Crisis (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

Pope Francis sent a message of hope to the International AIDS Society’s 8th Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention this past summer. He told participants, “that all advances in pharmacology, treatment, and research will be matched by a firm commitment to promote the integral development of each person as a beloved child of God.”

That blessed match probably seems like little consolation to HIV patients whose pharmaceutical treatment options are becoming prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, there have been great advances made over the decades in treating and managing HIV and AIDS. But they seem out of reach for young, black men living with HIV in the urban South, where diagnoses for the virus and the disease AIDS have reached crisis levels.  

Pope Francis’ message to the International AIDS Society conference wasaddressed to Dr. Julio Montaner, the director of the British Columbia Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In response, Montaner said that Pope Francis understood the HIV problem better than some scientists. The conference’s major focus was on ensuring early HIV treatmentfor the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. Those people are living in U.S. cities like Atlanta, where high HIV rates are largely the consequence of a lack of quality health insurance, as the Emory study found.

Brentin Mock reports.

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