Highfalutin B***S*** from the Pooh-Bahs of HIV/AIDS
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/04
Recall Professor Harry Frankfurt’s definition of BS: “a lack of concern with the truth” [B***S*** about HIV from academe via the press, 4 March 2008]. That applies across the board to HIV/AIDS activists and Pooh-Bahs, whose only concern in public statements is to underscore the desperate need for more attention to and more funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS. So even when there’s a truly devastating earthquake in Haiti,
according to David Furnish, Executive Board Member, Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF):
“With the horror of the earthquake foremost in our minds as relief efforts continue, it’s easy to forget Haiti’s longtime struggle against HIV/AIDS. In the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was expected to take the lives of more than one-third of the Haitian population. The stigma surrounding the disease was so severe that the US Centers for Disease Control had listed ‘Haitians’ in addition to ‘homosexuals’ and ‘heroin users’ as leading risk factors in contracting HIV. As recently as 2001, 30,000 Haitians were dying of AIDS each year, leaving hundreds of thousands of children orphaned.
This grim picture changed in recent years, thanks to a coordinated international response. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Haiti has decreased dramatically, from a calamitous six percent of the population in 2001 to around two percent today. . . . And while 120,000 Haitians were estimated to be living with the disease before the earthquake, fatalities had begun to decrease dramatically. There were 7,500 deaths from AIDS in 2007, a four-fold reduction from 2001.”
And Furnish goes on to accept, on behalf of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, partial credit for this “dramatic” reduction in HIV prevalence and AIDS deaths in Haiti.
But did Furnish ever think about the numbers he spewed out?
If 6% “HIV-positive” in 2001 became 2% in 2010, then 4% of the population must have died during those 10 years, because — as every HIV/AIDS believer knows — “HIV infection” is incurable and irreversible.
The population of Haiti in 2001 was about 8.7 million (WHO data courtesy of Google). At 6% that means there were 522,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians in 2001. In 2010 the population will have been around 10 million, at 2% HIV prevalence that means 200,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians. From where does Furnish get his assertion of 120,000? That would be 1.2%, not 2%.
AIDS deaths were decreasing from 30,000 in 2001 to 7,500 in 2007. Assume they remained no lower for the next few years, and that the decline from 2001 to 2007 was linear. That cumulates to about 154,000 total AIDS deaths from 2001 to 2010.
522,000 “HIV-positive” in 2001, minus 154,000 deaths, leaves 368,000 who must still be “HIV-positive” in 2010, PLUS those who were newly infected since 2001. So there must have been not 120,000, and not 200,000, but >368,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians just before the earthquake.
How can Furnish accommodate the deaths he cites with the decline in HIV prevalence that he cites? And for which he praises the work of his own Foundation, in order to make the case for giving even more to that Foundation?
All these numbers are bogus, they do not jibe with one another. But that is quite immaterial when the only purpose of Furnish’s message is that HIV/AIDS is so stark a threat that it must be “top priority”, even in a country where several hundred thousand people just died in an earthquake and something like a million are without food, water, or proper shelter. “Top priority”:
“EJAF provided . . . emergency grants of $100,000 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to move antiretroviral treatments to facilities still standing, take on increased patient loads, and manage already under-resourced hospitals”.
This entry was posted on 2010/02/04 at 11:31 pm and is filed under antiretroviral drugs, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media. Tagged: David Furnish, definition of bullshit, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Harry Frankfurt, HIV in Haiti. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.