Skip to comments.A Virus Like None Other Before it
Posted on 06/14/2005 5:30:24 PM PDT by Voice in your head
According to a paper published in last months World Economics, there are four anomalies relating to the HIV/AIDS epidemic which make it unique and, crucially, question the policy approach in developing countries. The papers varied authors--an English professor of public accountability; an Austrian obstetrician; a Canadian professor of pathology; and a retired Scottish professor of public health--have provided a fascinating insight into why HIV/AIDS is different, not only between rich and poor countries, but between neighboring African countries.
This is a brave and important paper, not least because anyone contradicting AIDS orthodoxy is seen not unlike a Holocaust denier.
Crippling epidemics are not new: Europes Black Death (bubonic plague) from 1347-51 killed two-thirds of Europe. Other less well-known examples often decimated populations--yellow fewer (1740-48), smallpox (1870-71), dysentery during the Crimean and Boer wars, and the famous 1918-19 influenza epidemic that killed more than the First World War. The most recent was the much less devastating severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak of 2002-03.
All these epidemics share multiple characteristics, which HIV does not. All have an identifiable starting point, a verifiable end point, short duration, and require traditional policies of isolation, quarantine and hygiene to minimize transmission of the causal pathogen.
But what of AIDS? As the authors point out: The HIV/AIDS epidemic began as a localized outbreak in California and New York (not in east Africa, as claimed) and became international within 15 years, with apparent devastating lethality in sub-Saharan Africa and some other developing countries. This complex syndrome is currently regarded as by far the greatest threat to economic and human survival in the affected countries.
First, the main AIDS-qualifying diseases in developing countries (such as tuberculosis, persistent fever and/or weight loss and diarrhea) are totally different from the main AIDS-qualifying diseases in developed countries (such as Kaposis sarcoma, pneumocystis carinii).
Second, a diagnosis of HIV and AIDS is very loosely defined in developing countries but is strictly defined in developed countries. In rich countries, an HIV antibody test is always done but in the poor world it is not necessary and has not been performed in millions of cases.
Third, AIDS is distributed and appears to be acquired overwhelmingly heterosexually in developing countries but overwhelmingly by homosexuality and by drug abusers in developed countries. Fourth, the definition of AIDS has been changed four times, so that we now refer only to HIV/AIDS rather than to HIV and AIDS separately. Thus, cases of asymptomatic HIV are called HIV/AIDS.
Furthermore, each change has broadened the definition of AIDS-qualifying diseases and caused the number of cases to rise continuously. For instance, cancer of the uterine cervix is classed as AIDS-qualifying, removing much of the skew to male prevalence in developed countries.
The authors conclude, in effect, that in developing countries endemic diseases--many linked to overcrowding, malnourishment, famine, war, sexually transmitted diseases etc--have been reclassified as AIDS. They say: In economic terms, we suggest that the same asymmetry of information is being used to justify continuation and expansion of inordinate, ring-fenced, and inefficient policies for prevention and control.
The authors are not denying the syndrome in rich countries, are not saying antiretrovirals cannot control HIV, or anything else to deny the existence of HIV. But they are saying that there is an alarming possibility that the opportunity costs of alternative interventions aimed at other more prevalent and equally dangerous threats to health are being denied comparable, or any, attention and vaccine research should be redirected from HIV vaccines towards more effective vaccines and treatments that can be administered to large numbers (millions) of people to control TB and malaria.
It may well be time to allocate some of the ballooning AIDS budget to measuring what is actually causing problems in Africa. Does the syndrome in Africa deserve the funding allocation it receives, or is it misallocated and should it be re-directed? This latest research suggests that it should be reallocated to old foes such as malaria and tuberculosis, and to water quality improvements.
Roger Bate is a resident fellow at AEI.
OK, but you don't get a pretty ribbon with malaria, tuberculosis and water quality.
Interesting ...this is the first time I've read this theory....I'd be interested in reading the data that supports this statement.
In order to scam money from developed countries?
And I wouldn't be surprised if it starts a movement to have the developed world (read "U.S.") become responsible in every way for all the social and financial costs associated with the problem. Another global transfer in the mid-term future? It is too suggestive, as it is written.
You knew that writing off the African debt was not the end of the story, right?
Reading about partisan politics is fun.
Reading about AIDS is necessary, but not fun.
No wonder Bubba's involved.
IOW Aids is political. But then all one needs to do to realize this is look at the $$$ spent per person infected versus other ailments.
This man is right. There has been a massive disinformation program around HIV. What is called AIDS in 3rd world countries frequently is just a combination of other diseases that occur in poorly nourished areas with bad hygiene and too many people. It's being called AIDS now to politicize the disease and remove the "gay" stigma. It's not about a virus as much as it is about hygiene and better living conditions.
How can any intelligent person read that sentence and not see that the whole HIV=AIDS game is just a giant scam? They are now claiming that HIV "causes" (I guess that is what 'AIDS-qualifiying' means) cancer. If this is science then I'm a duck.
Question: If it is due to malaria, TB and water-borne organisms, then how come most of the dead have been between the ages of 15-49? How come in the hardest hit areas (eg Uganda before they started intensive, and highly successful, abstinence/sex-ed programs ....and South Africa currently, which is still embroiled in a serious crisis) that many of the survivors are the very young and the very old? How come, using Uganda as an exampe again, there were whole villages where the only people present were children been taken care of by their grandparents?
The main victims of diseases like Malaria, as well as water-borne stuff like Bilharzia and Typhoid, are the very young and the very old. And the ones with the highest survival rates are adults. Yet how come that these prime victims (kids and the aged) are the same ones who are alive, and the highest-survival facet (adults) are being decimated?
I'd like to get a nice explanation about the strange antics of this strange 'malaria' and 'typhoid' trend in victim selection, because they are surely acting weird!
The claim that AIDS comes from America makes Africa the victim and now we're obliged to send a lot more than that $16B I thought we sent there. A curious thought though, how does an urban, gay, intravenous kind of disease get to the remotest parts of Africa?
To be frank, and don't take this personally as I'm sure you're just honestly relaying what you understand, but I don't know that any of those stats are true. When it comes to the 3rd world I don't know if any stats are true. I figure it may all just be more propaganda either to get money or to serve some socio/political agenda.
Yeah, I can hear a voice saying FOLLOW the MONEY.
Actually, AEI is correct. Diagnoses of AIDS first happened in CA and NY. It wasn't immediately called "aids"; BUT world doctors responded with data, identifying Africa with victims having similar "symptoms" as those in California and Nevada. Soonafter, began speculation about "how it came from Africa to the US". Minor voices as to who from CA had been to Africa over the past 5 years.. But ultimately, it became a shouting match over funds as to "who (which country) had AIDS first".
You are exactly right.
I'm not taking it personally. No need to. But you should note that in my International Baccalaureate program (sort of a grade 13-14, if there was such a thing, that i had to take in the last 2 years before i came to the US) I spent a lot of time doing something called CAS (Community Action Service). And the facets i undertook dealt and delved into kids with cancer, the homeless aged, and the HIV issue. Unlike 99% of people on this thread I have seen what I am talking about. Unlike 99% of this thread I am not relying on statistics. And while I agree with you that many governments are using this as a political crutch, I also know that it is not due to 'malaria' or 'poor water.'