On Tuesday, United Nations special envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis questioned how the world can give billions for victims of last month's tsunami and not do the same for Africans with AIDS. Lewis says he hopes the campaign to help victims of the Indian Ocean disaster will mark a turning point in how the world responds to crises. "I don't begrudge a penny to Southeast Asia, but what does it say about the world that we can tolerate the slow and unnecessary death of millions whose lives would be rescued by treatment?" Lewis asked. "Without the slightest invidious intent, it is important to recall that there are today, now, at this very moment, 6 million people dying of AIDS, 4,100,000 of them in Africa."
In the three weeks since the giant waves hit coastlines from Thailand to Somalia, the death toll has grown to more than 225,000. Tens of thousands remain missing. Worldwide, more than $6 billion has been given or pledged by individuals, relief groups, international agencies, corporations, and governments. This is more than the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has received in three years, according to Lewis. (Reuters)