No Way To Justify New
AIDS Spending - Consultant
CBC News

OTTAWA - Before the government spends any more money on the fight against AIDS and HIV, it needs to evaluate what it's done so far, a health policy consultant said on Saturday.
Martin Spigelman said there's no way for the government or health advocates to know whether the $42 million already being spent is doing any good.
'Right now we have goals, good goals, laudable goals, certainly, but imprecise and immeasurable'
Martin SpigelmanSpigelman's comments came at the annual general meeting of the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) in Ottawa.
"Right now we have goals, good goals, laudable goals, certainly," he said, "but imprecise and immeasurable."
It's not the message the society wants to hear. On Friday, the group urged Ottawa to double the amount of money it spends on treatment and prevention of AIDS.
The CAS said Health Canada released statistics last month that indicated an increase in the HIV infection rate last year, the first increase since 1995.
The number of new infections is growing, the CAS said. Funding for the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS, meanwhile, hasn't increased since 1994.
Spigelman said there's no point in pushing for more money while it's impossible to justify what's already been spent.
He went on to say the entire approach to the disease needs to be re-examined.
The current focus on safe sex and injection drug use ignores what he said are the root causes of the epidemic social factors that lead to self-destructive behaviour.
"The root causes we have to address are emotional, physical and sexual abuse during childhood as well as inequities based on income, race and gender," he said.
A new approach like the one he's advocating won't be easy, Spigelman said. But he added it would be a more effective way to spend money intended to stop the spread of AIDS and other diseases while improving the overall health of Canadians.
Written by CBC News Online staff


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