Archive for the ‘AIDS’ Category

World AIDS Day: The forgotten victims

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Today is World AIDS Day. Michael Fumento writes in Forbes about how former Surgeon General Koop is mistaken when he speaks about AIDS as being “forgotten”,
On World AIDS Day, Let’s Remember the True Forgotten Victims

As to “forgotten but not gone:”

Yet HIV/AIDS will receive over $3 billion in the 2011 federal research budget. That doesn’t include an entirely separately funded “infectious disease” category.  Granted, it’s shy of the 100 billion gagillion that Dr. Evil wanted in order to ransom the earth, but:

  • HIV/AIDS gets about $200,000 per patient death in the NIH research budget, according to calculations from the FAIR Foundation (Fair Allocations in Research). We spend 21 times more per AIDS death than cancer death. Pancreatic cancer will strike about 43,000 Americans this year and is essentially a quick death sentence. It gets 1% of the funding per death as AIDS.
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are the nation’s sixth and 14th-leading causes of death of death respectively, yet HIV/AIDS gets 34 times and 25 times more per fatality respectively.
  • The disparity is all the worse when trends are considered. While AIDS cases and deaths remain level, those of Parkinson’s inexorably climb while Alzheimer’s fly off the chart.

The forgotten victims? The people suffering from illnesses other than AIDS denied of research and treatment due to the disproportionate spending on that illness. Go read the whole article.

Related thoughts from John Derbyshire.


More good news on the AIDS front

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Gel Cuts AIDS, Herpes Risk for Women (emphasis added),

The study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled—the gold standard for clinical research—and the results were statistically significant. “It’s a really well-done study,” said Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard dedicated to immunology and HIV vaccine research.

“This is a potential game changer,” said Dr. Walker, who was briefed on the results but wasn’t involved in the study.

The herpes virus, HSV2, renders women more susceptible to HIV, so blocking that virus could add to the gel’s ability to prevent HIV.

The gel, which the researchers estimate could prevent half a million infections over the next 10 years in South Africa, contained the antiretroviral drug tenofovir, provided free by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which markets it in the U.S. as Viread. Administered as a pill in cocktails, the drug is widely used to treat people already infected with the AIDS virus. Gilead referred questions to Gilead Foundation President and Chairman Howard Jaffe, who said the company would support continuing research and any attempt to win regulatory approval.

Gilead rose to the challenge,

Dr. Abdool Karim persuaded Gilead, which licensed the gel for no royalty to two not-for-profit organizations. “I haven’t seen a drug company do that before,” said Dr. Abdool Karim. Gilead has also given licenses to manufacture generic versions of the drug itself to companies in India and South Africa. It collects a 5% royalty from sales of the generic drug.

Let’s pray that they continue to make progress in the fight against AIDS. As you can see in the article, there is a desperate need:

A Desperate Need

Young women in many parts of Africa have extremely high HIV rates. Below, the prevalence of HIV in pregnant women in rural Vulindlela, South Africa, near Durban, between 2005 and 2008. This was a site for a successful trial of a gel women can apply to protect themselves from the virus.

Age HIV Prevalence (%)
16 and Under 10.6
17-18 21.3
19-20 33.0
21-22 44.3
23-24 51.1

Source: Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa


Antibody Kills 91% of HIV Strains

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

News in the fight against AIDS:
Antibody Kills 91% of HIV Strains

In a significant step toward an AIDS vaccine, U.S. government scientists have discovered three powerful antibodies, the strongest of which neutralizes 91% of HIV strains, more than any AIDS antibody yet discovered.

Looking closely at the strongest antibody, they have detailed exactly what part of the virus it targets and how it attacks that site.

The antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year-old African-American gay man, known in the scientific literature as Donor 45, whose body made the antibodies naturally. Researchers screened 25 million of his cells to find 12 that produced the antibodies. Now the trick will be for scientists to develop a vaccine or other methods to make anyone’s body produce them.

That effort “will require work,” said Gary Nabel, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was a leader of the research. “We’re going to be at this for a while” before any benefit is seen in the clinic, he said.

While a vaccine or a cure may be years away, this is a very significant discovery. Go read the whole article.


Why the government should not be in charge of healthcare

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Add one more reason to the list:
D.C.’s AIDS Dollars Squandered
Part 1 – Wasting Away: Staggering Need, Striking Neglect

The first part of the WaPo’s report talks about how one in three of D.C.’s AIDS dollars earmarked for small groups went to organizations marked by financial problems and questionable services: The nation’s worst-hit city awards millions for care and shelter without ensuring it gets to those it’s meant to help

That’s what happens when government is in charge of the healthcare dollars.


I took part in a bloggers’ call with Sen. Orrin Hatch last Friday. Brian Faughnan posts,
Senator Hatch effectively explains how Democrats are trying to pass health care by playing a ‘shell game.’ Rather than introduce one comprehensive health care overhaul, with honest budgeting and a transparent financing mechanism, their reform bill is a constantly moving target. They’re using budget gimmicks to mask the cost, and pushing some parts of the overall package into separately-passed bills, because to include them would render the bill impossible to pass.

You can listen to the audio at Brian’s post.

Rape in Haiti: 15 Minutes on Latin America

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

In today’s podcast at 10AM Eastern I’ll talk about how Rape looms large over Haiti slums and the Amnesty International report, ‘Don’t Turn Your Back on Girls: Sexual violence against girls.

Chat’s open by 9:45AM and the call in number is 646 652-2639. You can listen to the podcast here.

Listen to Faustas blog on internet talk radio

Nobel in Medicine goes to two Frenchmen,

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

one of which, Luc Montagnier, was kicked out of his job by the French state due to his age, and is working at… an American university.

Télézapping : Cocorico Nobel
by lemondefr

Kenya: Muslim clerics declare war on condoms

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Via Yid With Lid, KENYA: Muslim clerics declare war on condoms

Muslim leaders in Kenya’s North Eastern Province have resolved to campaign against the promotion of condoms as a means of preventing HIV.

The leaders agreed to actively preach against the use and public promotion of condoms as a strategy to contain the pandemic and prevent pregnancy. They also agreed to oppose the distribution of condoms in villages and educational institutions across the northeast.

What to do, instead? Avoid looking at women, for starters:

The leaders expressed their view that the best way for the youth to avoid HIV was through the observance of Islamic teachings such as fasting, regular prayer and shunning extramarital affairs. They advised men to avoid looking at women, who should dress modestly.

Then there’s the myth, too:

Abdi Welli, a taxi driver in Garissa, told IRIN/PlusNews he agreed with the clerics that condoms should be banned. He believed the widespread myth that condoms and contraceptives were laced with the HI virus. “We know the condoms are not safe … if you want to contract the virus that causes AIDS, then use [a condom],” he said. “After all, we have heard in the past that the Western world is using the condom to eliminate Africans, and Muslims in particular.”

In another part of the world, a Yemenite cleric claims to have found the cure for AIDS by reading a hadith: He “won’t object to American companies adopting his invention on condition that they pressure the American administration to remove his name from the list of terrorism suspects.”

What a guy.

But wait, the President of Gambia claims to have found the cure for AIDS, too… as long as it’s on a Thursday:


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