Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt must help US, Missouri keep fight going against HIV/AIDS | Opinion

Keep fighting

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, a commemoration of the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and a reminder that our fight to end this preventable disease is far from over.

HIV claims far too many lives, infecting someone new every 30 seconds. I’ve taken dozens of trips to sub-Saharan Africa as a relief worker. I immediately noticed the absence of an entire generation that was stolen by HIV/AIDS.

But since the peak of the crisis, we’ve picked up some valuable tools to combat this virus. One is the bipartisan program PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, introduced by President George W. Bush.

PEPFAR has helped save 25 million lives since 2003. According to an analysis from the international nonprofit ONE Campaign, Missourians alone have helped PEPFAR save 396,339 lives, provide 343,723 people with antiretroviral drugs and ensure that 52,845 babies were born HIV-free. This program not only saves lives but gives people an opportunity to thrive.

We can end HIV/AIDS, but only if we recommit to programs and policies that work. That’s why I’m asking Sens. Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt to support a clean, five-year reauthorization of PEPFAR so we can keep up the fight to end HIV/AIDS for good.

- Joe Mason, Nixa, Missouri

Credit due

It’s absolutely wild that in her opinion piece “If this economy is Biden restoring American Dream, what do nightmares look like?” Nicole Russell would casually gloss over the unemployment rate and every other positive U.S. economic indicator. (Nov. 18,

Unemployment from January 2021 has dropped from 6.3% to 3.9%, and 14 million jobs have been created since President Joe Biden took office.

Russell wrote that Biden has “absolutely throttled energy resources” in not completing the Keystone XL pipeline and restricting drilling on federal lands. This omits that U.S. oil production for August 2023 was 404,637 barrels, a 17% increase over the 345,258 in January 2021. There was no mention of the global impact of sanctions on Russia for President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of a European democracy.

Also overlooked were significant investments in America — the bipartisan infrastructure deal, currently funding $400 billion for 40,000 projects across all 50 states — and the CHIPS Act, a $52.7 billion investment in American computer chip manufacturing. The government seed money has already attracted an additional $231 billion in private investment.

Yes, inflation has stung, and the Federal Reserve was slow to act. However, Biden should get credit for investing in the American economy more than any other president of the last 50 years.

- Greg Lahann, Kansas City

A leader

What a week the last one was. Practically all our politicians (save one) were either in hiding or seeking to turn the Middle East conflict to their own advantage. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden was working tirelessly behind the scenes to stop the carnage. In announcing the cease-fire, Biden shared the credit with everyone who helped.

For those who don’t remember, that’s what an American president looks like.

- Edward Alderman, Overland Park

Who shall inherit

I don’t know how this came about, but it appears that one form of Homo sapiens has become predominate on Earth — namely Homo sapiens ignoramus. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this subspecies is its absolute denial of the existence of reality. Given this characteristic, I don’t expect it to endure very long, probably to be replaced by a new species of hominid, or a new animal form altogether.

For example, look at its reaction to climate change. As the spiritual lesson of Adam and Eve points out, those who violate God’s will and commandments will end up having things go very, very badly for a very, very long time. I hope this does not include those who Jesus said would be persecuted for his name’s sake.

Let us pray. (No, no, not prey — I said pray. They never get it right, do they?)

- Stephen Morris Craft, Topeka