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The Time to Act Is Now

September 27, 2011 3 minute Read by Eric G. Bing

Today, the New York Times featured in a front page article an innovative way to save women from cervical cancer: use household vinegar to spot pre-cancerous lesions on a woman’s cervix that can be easily removed.  The article focused on Thailand and the work there should be commended. But in combating this deadly disease we can’t ignore a hard fact: HIV/AIDS often plays a role in cervical cancer.  Women who are HIV positive are four or five times more likely to contract cervical cancer than women who have not contracted the virus that causes AIDS.  As a consequence, cervical cancer is the largest cancer killer among women in sub-Saharan Africa -- a region where HIV is particularly prevalent. Thanks to the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an initiative launched by President Bush and a cornerstone of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative, many African countries now haves a strong HIV health-care infrastructures that can be used to combat cervical cancer.  As President Bush said at the recent Bush Institute’s Global Health Summit to Save Lives in Washington, D.C., “It’s not enough to save a woman from AIDS and have her die from cervical cancer.  It’s just unacceptable.” So the Bush Institute, in partnership with PEPFAR, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, UNAIDS and many corporations, has launched the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative to reduce cervical cancer deaths in Africa.  This initiative will begin with women who are most vulnerable, those who are HIV positive.  The importance of this initiative is best explained by the women who will be helped by it, such as the women featured in this video.  Former First Lady Laura Bush has also spoken out about the need to act against the scourge of cervical cancer and power of a “Drop of Vinegar.” We now have inexpensive tools, such as the vinegar test, and good infrastructure to combat cervical cancer in developing countries.  The time to act is now. Eric G. Bing Senior Fellow & Director, Global Health George W. Bush Institute

 

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