Monday, December 1, 2008

"A Bit of Truth" on World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

Out of North Dakota, and "interesting" opinion piece about World AIDS Day and AIDS activism/funding:

As World AIDS Day is marked on Monday, some experts are growing more outspoken in complaining that AIDS is eating up funding at the expense of more pressing health needs.

They argue that the world has entered a post-AIDS era in which the disease’s spread has largely been curbed in much of the world, Africa excepted.

“AIDS is a terrible humanitarian tragedy, but it’s just one of many terrible humanitarian tragedies,” said Jeremy Shiffman, who studies health spending at Syracuse University.

I agree with this, and would go on to say that in modern times AIDS has largely become a behavioral disease that can easily be avoided by simply exercising a bit of judgment and caution

If you avoid risky behavior such as promiscuous sex and intravenous drug use your chances of getting HIV/AIDS drop to next to nothing. Meaning that we don’t necessarily need to cure AIDS to stop it. We just need to avoid the sort of risky behaviors that spread it

So instead of spending billions upon billions of dollars in private and tax dollars on AIDS every year we could direct that funding to curing illnesses that can’t necessarily be avoided. Like breast cancer, for instance, or ALS

But we aren’t. Because AIDS activists have found themselves a
political niche and know how to exploit it.

Interesting because I had always been told by employers and state officials that this opinion was "out there," but I never actually heard anyone say it in seriousness. Like so much with HIV/AIDS, I chalked it up as something that happened once or twice and we blow it up as a serious issue.

You know, kind of like anything Ann Coulter says.

This is the first time I've heard anyone say it, and I'll respond as such: he's not wrong. However, the issue of HIV/AIDS is representative of a broader issue that needs to be addressed. AIDS dips into questions of access to healthcare, educational level, sexual taboos and mores, morality and ethics, racism, homophobia, and such an interesting confluence of issues that to simply say AIDS is not that big of a deal or touting those awful AIDS activist as part of the problem is dead wrong.

You're right, sir, outside of sub-Saharan Africa, we are doing amazing things. Simply amazing and miraculous at times.

But your understanding of the broader issues at play is wrong and you are looking at it in a microcosm, not what the fight against HIV/AIDS represents.

Oh, and I'm sure the monogamous people and married people I have tested positive that contract HIV from a partner with other understandings of those words would be interested in your just avoid risky behavior argument.

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