Monday, December 1, 2008

AIDS: Overblown Global Crisis?

Cross posted from Monkey in the Middle

Today is World AIDS Day. The day the whole world is suppose to remember that there is an pandemic happening through out the world. Right now, about 40 million people in the world are living with HIV infection or AIDS. This estimate includes 37 million adults and 2.5 million children. In the United States alone, more than 1 million people are living with HIV. A large number, but there are other diseases that infect more people and take more lives each year.
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.
In Africa some nations are almost 100% infected. Uganda is one of these. And those infected are not able to receive the necessary medical treatment needed for long term survival. Drugs that can slow the infection rate down, or prevent secondary infections from occurring are not being given to those most needy. Some of this is due to the cost of the drugs, other is the bureaucracy in many of the developing world.
Roger England of Health Systems Workshop, a think tank based in the Caribbean island of Grenada, goes further. He argues that UNAIDS, the U.N. agency leading the fight against the disease, has outlived its purpose and should be disbanded.

"The global HIV industry is too big and out of control. We have created a monster with too many vested interests and reputations at stake, ... too many relatively well paid HIV staff in affected countries, and too many rock stars with AIDS support as a fashion accessory," he wrote in the British Medical Journal in May.
Just like every other UN Agency it seems. This is nothing new. Just another bit of wasteful money mostly donated by American Taxpayers.
Paul de Lay, a director at UNAIDS, disagrees. It's valid to question AIDS' place in the world's priorities, he says, but insists the turnaround is very recent and it would be wrong to think the epidemic is under control.

"We have an epidemic that has caused between 55 million and 60 million infections," de Lay said. "To suddenly pull the rug out from underneath that would be disastrous."
The estimate of 55 to 60 million people is a bit high. It is more like 35 to 40 million people, many of which would not have been infected if the men of their nations would wear a condom. But that would mean that they aren't masculine enough. It would demean their manhood to wear one. So they don't, they visit prostitutes who are infected, they become infected and then infect their wives. Nice gift honey but I wanted a new washing machine!
U.N. officials roughly estimate that about 33 million people worldwide have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Scientists say infections peaked in the late 1990s and are unlikely to spark big epidemics beyond Africa.

In developed countries, AIDS drugs have turned the once-fatal disease into a manageable illness.
And the rate of infection is also down. The highest risk groups today are drug users and teenagers. I guess teens don't believe in safe sex either.
England argues that closing UNAIDS would free up its $200 million annual budget for other health problems such as pneumonia, which kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

"By putting more money into AIDS, we are implicitly saying it's OK for more kids to die of pneumonia," England said.
Measles can be prevented by inoculations. They are low cost and do work. Pneumonia kills millions each year, but we keep hearing there isn't any money to help these people.

His comments touch on the bigger complaint: that AIDS hogs money and may damage other health programs.

By 2006, AIDS funding accounted for 80 percent of all American aid for health and population issues, according to the Global Health Council.

In Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda and elsewhere, donations for HIV projects routinely outstrip the entire national health budgets.

In a 2006 report, Rwandan officials noted a "gross misallocation of resources" in health: $47 million went to HIV, $18 million went to malaria, the country's biggest killer, and $1 million went to childhood illnesses.
It is time that these nations get to use the donated funds where they need it the most. If malaria is killing more people each year, then they should use the funds there. It is the logical approach to a health crisis that these nations are facing.
AIDS advocates say their projects do more than curb the virus; their efforts strengthen other health programs by providing basic health services.

But across Africa, about 1.5 million doctors and nurses are still needed, and hospitals regularly run out of basic medicines.

Experts working on other health problems struggle to attract money and attention when competing with AIDS.
What good is basic medical services when there are no medicines to treat the basics? In Africa there is a shortage of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and medicines. There is no shortage of suffering though.
"Diarrhea kills five times as many kids as AIDS," said John Oldfield, executive vice president of Water Advocates, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that promotes clean water and sanitation.

"Everybody talks about AIDS at cocktail parties," Oldfield said. "But nobody wants to hear about diarrhea," he said.

Full Story
I'm sorry Mr. Oldfield, but there is no way you are going to ever get anyone to talk about diarrhea at a cocktail party. At a frat house party, maybe. But the average person doesn't even like to think about diarrhea.

AIDS is a glamor disease. Scores of the A-List celebrities just have to come out and say something about AIDS every year. If you don't, then your career is ruined. But Roger England is correct. The world is spending too many resources on one illness and neglecting other serious problems. It is time that the individual nations involved in this have a bigger say on where donated monies should be spent. Yes AIDS patients should receive the medicines that will help them survive many years, but money should be spent to prevent treatable illnesses like measles, to help patients with malaria, and even start providing the basic health care that would prevent all these illnesses.

And on this World AIDS Day, I think that my tax money would be spent in a better way.

1 comment:

  1. what do we know about this?

    Sent: 11/30/2008 1:54 PM
    Are you a Natural Born
    Citizen of the U.S.?
    Are you legally eligible to
    hold the Office of President?

    December 1, 2008
    Mr. Barack Obama
    Barack Obama Transition Office
    Kluczynski Federal Building
    230 So. Dearborn St.
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    Dear Mr. Obama:
    Representing thousands of responsible American citizens who have also
    taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America,
    I am duty bound to call on you to remedy an apparent violation of the
    Compelling evidence supports the claim that you are barred from holding
    the Office of President by the “natural born citizen” clause of the U.S.
    Constitution. For instance:
    • You have posted on the Internet an unsigned, forged and thoroughly
    discredited, computer-generated birth form created in 2007, a form
    that lacks vital information found on any original, hand signed
    Certificate of Live Birth, such as hospital address, signature of
    attending physician and age of mother.
    • Hawaii Dept of Health will not confirm your assertion that you were born
    in Hawaii.
    • Legal affidavits state you were born in Kenya.
    • Your grandmother is recorded on tape saying she attended your birth
    in Kenya.
    • U.S. Law in effect in 1961 denied U.S. citizenship to any child born
    in Kenya if the father was Kenyan and the mother was not yet 19
    years of age.
    • In 1965, your mother legally relinquished whatever Kenyan or U.S.
    citizenship she and you had by marrying an Indonesian and becoming
    a naturalized Indonesian citizen.
    You have repeatedly refused to provide evidence of your eligibility when
    challenged to do so in a number of recent lawsuits. Instead, you have
    been successful in having judges declare that they are powerless to order
    you to prove your eligibility to assume the Office of President.
    Incredibly, the judge in Hawaii actually said it would be an invasion of
    your privacy for him to order access to your original birth certificate in
    order to prove your eligibility to hold the Office of President.
    Before you can legitimately exercise any of the powers of the President
    you must meet all the criteria for eligibility established by the Constitution.
    You are under a moral, legal, and fiduciary duty to proffer such evidence.
    Should you assume the office as anyone but a bona fide natural born
    citizen of the United States who has not relinquished that citizenship, you
    would be inviting a national crisis that would undermine the domestic
    peace and stability of the Nation. For example:
    • You would always be viewed by many Americans as a
    poseur - a usurper .
    • As a usurper , you would be unable to take the required “Oath or
    Affirmation” on January 20 without committing the crime of perjury or
    false swearing, for being ineligible you cannot faithfully execute the
    Office of the President of the United States.
    • You would be entitled to no allegiance, obedience or support from
    the People.
    • The Armed Forces would be under no legal obligation to remain
    obedient to you.
    • No civilian in the Executive Branch would be required to obey any of
    your proclamations, Executive Orders or directives, as such orders
    would be legally void.

    • Your appointments of Judges to the Supreme Court would be void.
    • Congress would not be able to pass any needed legislation because
    it would not be able to acquire the signature of a bona fide President.
    • Congress would be unable to remove you, a usurper , from the Office
    of the President on Impeachment, inviting certain political chaos
    including a potential for armed conflicts within the General
    Government or among the States and the People to effect the
    removal of such a usurper .
    In consideration of the escalating constitutional crisis brought on by the
    total lack of evidence needed to conclusively establish your eligibility,
    I am compelled to serve you with this First Amendment Petition for a
    Redress of this violation of the Constitution.
    With all due respect, I ask that you immediately direct the appropriate
    Hawaiian officials to allow access to the vault copy of your birth
    certificate by our forensic scientists on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
    December 5, 6 and 7, 2008.
    In addition, I ask that you deliver the following documentary evidence to
    the National Press Club in Washington DC by 10 am on December 8, 2008,
    marked for my attention:
    • A certified copy of your original, signed “vault” birth certificate.
    • Certified copies of your reissued and sealed birth certificates in the
    names Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Soetoro, Barry Obama, Barack
    Dunham and Barry Dunham.
    • A certified copy of your Certification of Citizenship.
    • A certified copy of your Oath of Allegiance taken upon age of maturity.
    • Certified copies of your admission forms for Occidental College,
    Columbia University and Harvard Law School.
    • Certified copies of any legal documents changing your name.
    Each member of the Electoral College, who is committed to casting a vote
    on December 15, 2008, has a constitutional duty to make certain you are
    a natural-born citizen. As of today, there is no evidence in the public
    record (nor have you provided any) that defeats the claim that you are
    barred by law from assuming the Office of President because you fail the
    Constitution’s eligibility requirements.
    All state Electors are now on Notice that unless you provide documentary
    evidence before December 15, that conclusively establishes your eligibility,
    they cannot cast a vote for you without committing treason to the Constitution.
    “In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled
    if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent,
    the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people
    by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a
    lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become
    a law unto himself; it invites anarchy .” Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438
    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this urgent matter.
    Robert L. Schulz
    We The People Foundation
    For Constitutional Education, Inc.
    2458 Ridge Road Queensbury, NY 12804

    Here is the URL to the original WTPF open letter to Obambi, in the form it was submitted to the Chicago Tribune (CT) for publication.

    Here is the URL to the WTPF website, where they reference the letter, and here is the WTPF blog, where they cite 12/1 and 12/3 as the dates the letter will appear in the CT - supposedly the "main news" section.

    I have been unable to find the CT article itself yet, but here is one of many blogs which also mention it.

    In any event, the deathly silence from the Obambi camp on this issue speaks volumes.