Foreign Policy

Too Much Money for AIDS

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Here is something you don't see every day: an AIDS researcher calling for less spending on AIDS. In a New York Times op-ed piece, Daniel Halperin, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests that politicians who criticize President Bush for seeking "only" $30 billion over five years to fight AIDS don't know what they're talking about:

Even the current $15 billion in spending represents an unprecedented amount of money aimed mainly at a single disease.

Meanwhile, many other public health needs in developing countries are being ignored.

Halperin argues that more lives could be saved by reallocating money earmarked for AIDS to less fashionable causes, such as prevention and treatment of the diarrheal diseases that are a major cause of mortality in Africa. The "rigid focus on AIDS," he says, has led to a deadly waste of resources:

This year [Botswana] will receive about $300 million to fight AIDS—in addition to the hundreds of millions already granted by drug companies, private foundations and other donors. While in that sparsely populated country last month, I learned that much of its AIDS money remains unspent, as even its state-of-the-art H.I.V. clinics cannot absorb such a large influx of cash.

As the United States Agency for International Development's H.I.V. prevention adviser in southern Africa in 2005 and 2006, I visited villages in poor countries like Lesotho, where clinics could not afford to stock basic medicines but often maintained an inventory of expensive AIDS drugs and sophisticated monitoring equipment for their H.I.V. patients. H.I.V.-infected children are offered exemplary treatment, while children suffering from much simpler-to-treat diseases are left untreated, sometimes to die.

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  1. And we want to put these people in charge of our healthcare because..?

  2. Hmmm, now which lobby is the one that pushes for massive HIV funding?

    Could it be…TEH GAY?

    Remember, every time you take it up the ass, a poor African kid dies of malaria.

  3. So how many African kids did you kill today crimethink? 😉

  4. Well, that’s not quite the tangent I was expecting in this thread.

    Still, derailed on the second post. Style points!

  5. I know 3 people who died of cancer and exactly 0 people who have died of AIDS. Wake me when cancer research garners the media and political attention AIDS research does*.

    *Breast cancer gets a lot of attention because breasts are nice to look at, prostate cancer, not so much.

  6. I wonder if breast cancer gets as much attention in societies where topless women are the norm.

    Also, does throat cancer get more attention in Iran, since men must consider a glance of a woman’s throat a taste of forbidden fruit? Mmm, ankles too.

  7. Ankle cancer is caused by corn syrup, you know.

  8. cankles!

  9. Also, testicular cancer is discriminated against. Notice the difference between the websites for Save the Ta-Tas and Save the Nuts.

  10. Let’s try that again:

    Also, testicular cancer is discriminated against. Notice the difference between the websites for Save the Ta-Tas and Save the Nuts.

  11. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    Yes it’s an old saw, but it’s especially true IRT government funding.

  12. Breast cancer gets a lot of attention because breasts are nice to look at…

    A woman in the office I used to work in has breast cancer as her pet charity. I had a friend who always donated money when she asked, stating that it was a cause he could get behind. Or in front of.

  13. What about in between?

  14. Remember, every time you take it up the ass, a poor African kid dies of malaria.

    Does this include chicks as well? It shouldn’t.

  15. Teh gay lobby for AIDS research. The negros lobby for aid to Africa. Who knew the intersection of those two special interests was such a political juggernaut.

  16. What about in between?

    It’s for a good cause…

  17. Teh gay lobby for AIDS research. The negros lobby for aid to Africa. Who knew the intersection of those two special interests was such a political juggernaut.

    Is there any way to work in Teh J00wz and IllegalMexicans?

  18. Does this include chicks as well? It shouldn’t.

    Hmm, I didn’t consider that before posting that. Well, obviously, I didn’t consider a lot of things before posting that.

  19. Cesar,

    the JOOZ! own the Big Pharma companies, don’t they?

  20. H.I.V.-infected children are offered exemplary treatment, while children suffering from much simpler-to-treat diseases are left untreated, sometimes to die.

    Let this be a lesson to African children. If you get sick, be sure to get HIV too, so you get moved to the head of the line.

  21. AIDS ceased to be a disease and became a political issue a long time ago.

    I applaud this researcher for trying to help everyone remember it’s a disease.

  22. Ah, and the IllegalMexicans are taking reactionary hate that would otherwise be directed at American minorities. Those scapegoating jobs would be taken by American minorities if it weren’t for the foreign minorities who will be scapegoats for below-minimum-wage.

  23. I find the sad irony to be that first generation anti-AIDS drugs were completely harmful, and even the newer anti-AIDS drugs have not been proven to help more than thy hurt. Well, let me put that more accurately: they have not been proven to help more than they hurt in a controlled study, but they have been shown to help relative to computer simulations of control patients.

    The point here is that the FDA abdication of its traditional responsibilities in the anti-AIDS drug area has shown what it would be like if we didn’t have an FDA. It would be bad.

    And that is the AIDS story you will not see above the fold at HnR. You fake trolls out there have no clue.

  24. Actually breast cancer gets disproportionate attention because of how common it is and its low mortality rate (I know, seems counter-intuitive). As a result, there are a bunch of telegenic survivors pushing for research. It’s hard for a guy that died of liver cancer to fund raise.

  25. Dave, we’re busy talking about T&A. Get on topic.

  26. Wouldn’t doing a controlled study require forcing some AIDS patients to go untreated?

  27. Dave, we’re busy talking about T&A. Get on topic.

    Yeah, tell us about AIDS vaccines made from HFCS or something.

  28. Wouldn’t doing a controlled study require forcing some AIDS patients to go untreated?

    Yup. And when you don’t know whether your new drug is better or worse than a placebo, then there is nothing wrong with that. In the case of first generation AIDS drugs, it is pretty much understood by now that the test subjects would have been better off with a placebo. In fact, some of them might still be alive if they hadn’t started giving the control group AZT after 9 months or so.

    Semi-related AIDS fun:
    http://www.readthehook.com/stories/2007/12/13/news-gerrymitchellupdate-c.rtf.aspx

  29. even the newer anti-AIDS drugs have not been proven to help more than thy hurt. Well, let me put that more accurately: they have not been proven to help more than they hurt in a controlled study, but they have been shown to help relative to computer simulations of control patients

    Huh?
    Are you kidding?
    Or are you a paid spokesperson for the ANC?

  30. It’s been my experience that cultures where toplessness among women is treated as normal often tend to have vibrant gay cultures. So they probably cancel each other out.

    Dave,
    Is the FDA the one that has funneled billions of dollars in to unsuccesful and counterproductive AIDS treatments over the years? The same people who want to abolish the FDA are the same ones who would get the Federal Government out of the medical reseach racket. In a FDA-less, Libertarian world, the AIDS crisis never would have happened. Homeopathic and healthy living treatments would have gained a foothold from the onset, and when compared to the deadly results of AZT and the like, would have risen to the top of the market among the AIDS community.

  31. I blame Tom Hanks.

  32. Is the FDA the one that has funneled billions of dollars in to unsuccesful and counterproductive AIDS treatments over the years?

    Yeah, I agree in the sense that I prefer the FDA in its role of regulator to FDA in its role as corp cash machine. I disagree that an unregulated market would have been the quickest way to get to the healthy skepticism regarding anti-AIDS drugs we see now. I think an uncorrupted FDA would have been the quickest way to get where we are now.

  33. If only the right people were in charge…

  34. If only the right people were in charge…

    The testing a new medicine against a real, live, double blind control group should not depend on who’s in charge. And the so-called scientists on this thread should be loudest in demanding that that happen every time. That double blind thingee was a rule originally made up by scientists and not by lawyers or regulators. But they get a whiff of the money and principle goes right out the winders.

  35. Dave, you really seem to care. About what, I have no idea.

  36. O, don’t make me say it. The UOers and the Grill-Aiders and Urkie get so angry when I say it. It is the care that dare not speak its name.

    is that a Rodney D. line?

  37. good caddyshack reference Epi!

    now korn syurp boi: fuq off.

  38. goddammit. Back to School. Meant “Rodney Dangerfield”.

    joe’s law.

    still: KFCS boi – fuq off.

  39. is that a Rodney D. line?

    Well done, I didn’t think anybody would catch that so fast.

    O, don’t make me say it. The UOers and the Grill-Aiders and Urkie get so angry when I say it. It is the care that dare not speak its name.

    Come on, just do it–it’s fun.

  40. Man, VM caught it right away too.

  41. The testing a new medicine against a real, live, double blind control group should not depend on who’s in charge.i>

    Right, like protections of our civil rights…

  42. please say it HFCS boi (the fuq off) – it’s fun, and it’s just gonna confirm the heapin’, honkin’ pile of contempt of you, “dickhead2”, “defenders of religious conservatives”, “batshit insane chick”, “doesn’t know econ but pretends”, “internet tuff gai”, and “likes creationism” – and it makes the filter so much fun to turn off and on!

  43. I guess they get kinda angry when I don’t say it, too. use the force, Luke! there I sed it.

  44. [last post]
    filter so much fun to turn off and on!

    [filtered comment]
    comment by HFCS fucktard

    [comment box]
    Comment on this article:

    ahhhhhh.

  45. VemSter:

    at another board I recently compiled a 3 cd compilation of music made by the various posters. It is very good. Check it out:

    http://z1.invisionfree.com/forums/thefall/index.php?showtopic=18912

  46. Medical researchers discover diminishing marginal utility…

  47. you, “dickhead2”, “defenders of religious conservatives”, “batshit insane chick”, “doesn’t know econ but pretends”, “internet tuff gai”, and “likes creationism”

    dare I guess which one refers to me?

  48. “dickhead2”, “defenders of religious conservatives”, “batshit insane chick”, “doesn’t know econ but pretends”, “internet tuff gai”, and “likes creationism”

    Considering I don’t defend religious conservatives, I’m not a chick, I don’t pretend to know econ, am not a tuff gai, and don’t like creationism, I guess I know which name refers to me.

  49. I wish someone would utter this if only once, but why don’t we take all this money we funnel into third world countries and redirect it towards OUR COUNTRY. I firmly believe in ending th expensive war in Iraq, etc., but it is extremely hypocritical to preach for less spending on one form of foreign interventionism and then turn around and vomit money into another, just because it has the whiff of altruism to it.

    The fact of the matter is that Africa’s disease problems will not go away from mere humanitarian aid alone. Because the IPCC has now mandated prevention of industrialization of the third world, any health benefits for Africa will be disastrous. A people whose economy hasn’t the means to support their increasing population is doomed to a Malthusian wasteland and most will forever be locked into dependence for aid – a vicious circle perpetuated by the new “white man’s burden” engendered by our modern progressives.

  50. Wouldn’t doing a controlled study require forcing some AIDS patients to go untreated?

    Every clinical research trial has this ethical dilemma, although often the choice is between the new treatment and the current standard treatment.

    To make it even more painful, in double-blind trials everyone thinks they’re getting the new stuff, but only half really are.

    Of course, everyone in the trial is a volunteer, and this is all disclosed to them up front. Informed consent, baby!

  51. Dave, just out of curiosity, how do you propose to prevent agency capture with the new, improved FDA?

    And for probably the umpteen millionth time, why doesn’t the UL model work for drugs?

  52. Dave, just out of curiosity, how do you propose to prevent agency capture with the new, improved FDA?

    By raising awareness so that ppl of my generation rediscover forgotten knowledge re drug safety. By reducing economic concentration and concomitant market power in the pharma producer market.

  53. Halperin argues that more lives could be saved by reallocating money earmarked for AIDS to less fashionable causes, such as prevention and treatment of the diarrheal diseases that are a major cause of mortality in Africa.

    My criticism of Bush in this area is that most of the $15 billion represents money reprogrammed from other African health efforts, such as basic health infrastructure and anti-malaria efforts.

  54. I think the “gay angle” has become irrelevant when the vast majority of people suffering from AIDS in Africa are heterosexual.


  55. Actually breast cancer gets disproportionate attention because of how common it is and its low mortality rate

    Also, because it’s a women’s disease. Look at how funding is allocated for sex-specific diseases. Women’s diseases are awesomely overfunded compared to men’s diseases.

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