Wednesday, August 06, 2003

From Science Blog quoting UCBerkley News:

The epidemic of HIV/AIDS in India is following the same pattern as that of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s, and it could become just as devastating unless preventive action is taken now, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, in a paper to be published Saturday (June 21) in the British Medical Journal. "In hindsight, opportunities were missed to stem the explosive growth of AIDS in Africa," says Dr. Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and lead author of the paper. "It would be a tragedy if we don't apply the lessons learned from the failure to control the spread of HIV in Africa to the current situation in India. It is very painful to watch history repeating itself."

The Bloviator quotes the Washington Post:

AIDS cases increased 2.2 percent in 2002, the first apparent rise since 1993, according to preliminary data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

If the final analysis of the national data collected annually by the CDC confirms the increase, it could mark a turning point in the AIDS epidemic in the United States. The epidemic had appeared to be stabilizing because of years of intensive safe-sex campaigns and the introduction of powerful anti-viral drugs that help prevent HIV-infected people from developing AIDS.

The cause of the apparent increase was unclear. Experts speculated that it could be a combination of factors, including a rise in HIV infections among young gay men in recent years, an increase in people who are failing to respond to the new treatments, and state budget problems, which could be limiting access to care for HIV-positive people who are poor.

Aids is clearly a global problem. The cost of prevention is trivial compared to the cost of treatment. I expect the cost of a crash program to slow the spread of aids in India would be cheaper than the direct and indirect costs of a huge breeding pool for HIV. Disease knows no borders. The larger the number of infected individuals, the greater the chance of a crucial mutation providing the virus with resistance to a crucial drug coming into existance and spreading. If swine can be a dangerous reservoir for diseases that can infect humans, how much more so other humans?

It seems HIV is not a national problem but a global one - and one we are failing to deal with. I wonder what sort of government would be able to deal with it, short of the world government the black helicopter folks are always talking about? If disease turns out to be the way the world ends, the next civilization might not care how authoritarian it has to be to prevent a repetition - all the more reason to find a way freedom and capitalism and democracy can solve this problem.

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