HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Posts Tagged ‘disproportionate funding for HIV/AIDS’

A SMALL HITCH IN THE BANDWAGON?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/05/29

“Health expert calls for end to UN HIV programme” (InTheNews.co.uk, 9 May 2008 )

“The joint United Nations programme on HIV and Aids should be ‘closed down rapidly’, according to . . . Roger England, chairman of Health Systems Workshop — an independent advisory group on health management in poor countries — . . . [because] its mandate is “wrong and harmful”. . . . Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Mr England says the agency was set up on the argument that HIV and its impact are exceptional.  But he writes that this argument is no longer valid and says the claims HIV needs its own body as it can tip households into poverty would also apply to all serious diseases and disasters. ‘HIV is a major disease in southern Africa, but it is not a global catastrophe, and language from a top UNAids official that describes it as ‘one of the make-or-break forces of this century’ and a ‘potential threat to the survival and well-being of people worldwide’ is sensationalist . . . . Worldwide the number of deaths from HIV each year is about the same as that among children aged under five years in India. . . . far too much is spent on HIV relative to other needs and . . . this is damaging health systems . . . . HIV causes 3.7 per cent of mortality but receives a quarter of international healthcare aid and a “big chunk” of domestic expenditure. ‘HIV exceptionalism is dead — and the writing is on the wall for UNAIDS. . . .  Why a UN agency for HIV and not for pneumonia or diabetes, which both kill more people? . . . UNAids should be closed down rapidly, not because it has performed badly given its mandate, which it has not, but because its mandate is wrong and harmful. Its technical functions should be refitted into [the World Health Organisation], to be balanced with those for other diseases.’”

Similarly, in the United States the expenditure on HIV/AIDS research dwarfs that on major killers like cancer or cardiovascular disease: 20 times as much per “HIV” death than per cancer death, 100 times as much per “HIV patient” as per cardiovascular patient (STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—-Part II, 1 February 2008).

Perhaps free-market economics can slow the bandwagon?

After all, if funds start to dry up, then the propaganda will also begin to ebb. So long as UNAIDS exists, it will seek to justify its existence by putting out the scary pseudo-statistics that James Chin, for example, has debunked (CONDOMS AND HIV: WHAT EVERYONE KNOWS IS ONCE AGAIN WRONG, 10 February 2008;  B***S*** about HIV from ACADEME via THE PRESS, 4 March 2008).

But I am not holding my breath. Too many careers and livelihoods depend on the disproportionate attention paid to HIV/AIDS. And what happens to drug sales and profits if TB, malaria, intestinal worms, malnutrition, become the focus? All those can be handled at far less expense than the provision of toxic antiretroviral drugs.

Posted in experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

A billion here, a billion there . . . .

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/19

Senator Everett Dirksen is credited with the remark, about Congress’s habitual tendency to spend taxpayers’ money on all sorts of projects, that “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money”. One wonders what he would have said about HIV/AIDS, which gobbles up far more for research per patient death ($180,000) than cancer ($10,000) or cardiovascular disease ($2600) (STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—Part II, 1 February 2008; data from http://www.fairfoundation.org/factslinks.htm).

But in addition to billions spent on research, further billions are spent on treatment:

HHS Awards $1.1 Billion for HIV/AIDS Care, Medications

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has announced grants of more than $1.1 billion to provide primary care, medications and services for low-income and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS.

Funded under Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the grants are awarded to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also receiving grants are the U.S. Pacific Territories of American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and the Associated Jurisdictions of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) manages the Ryan White program.

“These Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part B grants help ensure Americans, especially those in rural and underserved communities, affected by HIV/AIDS get access to the care they need through quality health care and support systems,” Secretary Leavitt said. “These grants strengthen community, city and state capacities to care for those with HIV.”

The majority of the funding, $774 million, supports state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) that provide prescription medications for HIV/AIDS patients. In 2006, close to 158,000 ADAP clients were served through state ADAPs.

Part B awards also include formula base grants that can be used for home and community-based services, insurance continuation, ADAP assistance, and other direct services. Fourteen states will also receive Emerging Community (EC) grants based on the number of AIDS cases over the most recent 5-year period.

“Ryan White Part B awards reflect the urgent need for life-saving medications for those living with HIV/AIDS,” said HRSA Administrator Elizabeth Duke. “Today we are thankful and proud that all ADAP waiting lists have been eliminated.”

Every year, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program helps more than 530,000 people access the care and services they need to live longer, healthier lives. Information on all domestic, Federal HIV/AIDS programs is available at http://www.aids.gov. HRSA, part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit http://www.hrsa.gov.”

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“Socialized medicine” is a cuss-word (cuss-phrase?) in the United States. There is strenuous opposition to any suggestion of a “one-payer” health-care system. But an exception is made for HIV/AIDS, because the story was successfully sold that it is so dire a threat to everyone. Two decades of a non-spreading “epidemic” have not yet modified that belief.

Posted in Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »