Haitians Reject Flawed HIV/AIDS Research - Wyclef Jean Speaks Out
Haiti is a proud member of what is still a fairly small club - countries with generalized HIV/AIDS epidemics that have been able to not only halt it, but reverse it. This is not a fluke - the involvement of the Haitan civil society, government, and the support of the international community has made a measurable difference. Their successes in treatment have been applied in other countries such as Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi. Success can be contagious, and Haiti's results have inspired other countries.
Sadly, as The Haitian Times notes, Haiti found itself on the defensive this World AIDS Day when they should have been celebrating. The genetic study by Michael Worobey, an assistant professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, is deeply flawed and we have reported on the reasons for this.
However, we have been pleased to see the Haitian community, including the Diaspora, stand up for themselves. They have been victimized by flawed HIV/AIDS studies in the past with results that reverberate still today, and they are not going to let it happen againg without a fight.
Haitian Academics have spoken out. Respected HIV/AIDS specialists, including Dr. Pape and Dr. Farmer, have both weighed in. Recently, Wyclef Jean on Monday blasted the study. Arguably Haiti's best known musician, his voice will help carry the message farther, that prejudice is not acceptable and does not help in our struggle, which is global, against HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS does not discriminate by race, ethnicity, or country - although history has shown that we cannot say the same thing about the American academic community. This time though, Haitian are standing up for their rights, for their dignity, and for the progress that they have made.
I hope we will see more of this united front against other health, economical, and social issues in the future by Haiti's civil society, its researchers, its government officials and celebrities in the future. Men anpil chay pay lou.
P.S. - Take a look at Wyclef's Yele Foundation when you have a moment. You can access it by clicking here.