- 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
- 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