Thursday, June 01, 2006

June 5 marks the 25th anniversary...

Yesterday 19 years ago (31 May 1987) President Reagan first mentions AIDS. This is six and a half years into his presidency! By that stage there had been 4,217 new AIDS cases in NYC & 6,458 AIDS Deaths.

I read this in a very interesting article by the New York Metro.

AIDS in New York: A Biography
June 5 marks the 25th anniversary of the first medical report on what later became known as AIDS. A quarter-century of epidemiological, political, and cultural transformation....

Since 1980 the world has known about the disease. Since 1983 safe sex has been advocated.
One always wonders if things could have been different had there been a faster reaction back then and if AIDS hadn't first appeared in homosexual men in the '80s during a Republican presidency.
Or if things would be different now if it was not now mainly infecting poor Africans but other socio-economic-demographic groups.

And what has our hegemonic western leader, the USA, learnt by 2006?...that money can be thrown at this extremely complex long-term problem with the simplistic solutions of Abstinence & Be Faithful training in Third World coutries.

This money of $15 billion over 5 years, is better known as PEPFAR funding (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

I do not believe in looking a gift horse in the mouth, but AIDS is not a situation that requires simple solutions. The virus has proven too smart for that, and with so much in-depth research having gone into this subject, how can the US government simply ignore researchers' advice and settle on moralistic answers?

I have read documents that state if I should mention the word "condoms" in my proposal, I will not receive funds. This does not hold true for all the PEPFAR money released, but I have experienced fear of the C word by too many HIV/AIDS Programme Developers who are trying to obtain US government money. Such simplistic short-term solutions promise more problems than resolutions.

I am not sure how to conclude this rant, as I have so much more to say, and I am sure I will say it over the next while.


Jam said...

Nice to know this date, and it is astounding to think how many people have become infected and have died in the interim.

Champagne Heathen said...

Hey Jam, I actually was about to post a comment on your blog...

It's also astounding to think the lack of political commitment from countries of all types despite the facts and figures!

I read yesterday: India has the largest number of people living with the virus. With 5,7-million infections, it has overtaken South Africa's total of 5,5-million. But the epidemic is still at its worst in sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of the world's HIV-infected children live.

Mail & Guardian article from Wednesday online. (

I'm just full of these HIV facts & dates & horror stories.

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