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Researchers Warned About AIDS Grants

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the read-no-evil dept.

Censorship 108

winksmith writes "The NYTimes (free registration, etc.) is reporting that scientists researching STD's (including AIDS) must be careful in the wording of reports and particularly of grant requests. many have been verbally warned that phrases like: "sex workers," "men who sleep with men," "anal sex" and "needle exchange," may cause the government to withhold grant money."

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108 comments

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Lies! (-1, Offtopic)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5763976)

I triple guarantee you, this is not a first post!

IRON LION ZION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5763985)

http://ebiz.netopia.com/riseupandresist/opinion/me ssage.nhtml?profile=opinion&UID=10114

Is this really news? (3, Insightful)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764006)

This seems to be another example of politicians trying to double talk. When they are talking to a medical group they say how all the grants are going to AIDS research, but then when they are talking to anti research people they can go back and say the opposite. It seems like anything that is fine for medical terminology should be fine. Of course a lot of the grant process is subjective rather then objective so it may be the little things that get the application passed up, but this is just one of the many problems a grant request can face.

Go calculate [webcalc.net] something.

Re:Is this really news? (1)

gantrep (627089) | more than 11 years ago | (#5768002)

Dude your sig is down. Dunno if you are responsible for the site, if it's a dns problem or how long its been like that or what.

Sorry, i know it's not important or on-topic.

Re:Is this really news? (2, Funny)

gantrep (627089) | more than 11 years ago | (#5768013)

and now it's fine. Well i'm an asshat.

America is a Shithole (-1)

I Hate America (662232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764038)

Why would anyone want to live in that dump?

Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764060)

This is entirely appropriate.

Look, there are lots of diseases that affect human beings. Everything from the common cold to ebola. Some of them are very rare, some widespread. Some are deadly, some place a heavy burden on our health care system, and some are mere nuisances.

Medical science is a zero-sum game. Every dollar or minute spent trying to find a cure for disease X cannot be spent on disease Y. There's only so much money and effort to go around.

Diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease, and trauma all kill more people every year worldwide than HIV. Not a few more, either; we're talking about millions of people every year.

Now, every educated person knows that HIV is not limited to gay people, or to drug users, or to people who have anal sex. HIV is out there, and everybody is at risk of contracting it, though for the vast majority of people that risk is statistically insignificant.

But the notion, correct or incorrect, that HIV is confined to a particular group or that it's only transmitted by a particular illegal or socially unacceptable activity gives one pause. Is it really right to spend $X on AIDS research when one hundred times more people die of cancer or heart disease or stroke every year?

If you want funding for your AIDS research, you're going to have to convince the organization offering you the money that your research is more important than research that will help tens, or even hundreds, of millions of people over the long term.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764104)

Be fair, though -- AIDS does have its own nastiness. Once it's in a population, you have tons of disease vectors. It can spread, and it doesn't just quickly and cleanly kill off its host.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764529)

Actually, no. HIV has precisely ONE disease vector: blood-to-blood transfer. And it requires a HUGE viral load to sustain an infection-- on the order of hundreds of thousands of particles.

It's actually very difficult to get HIV.

My wife is a surgeon, and HIV transmission used to be a HUGE concern in the operating room. You're in a tight space with lots of sharp objects; sticks happen all the time. Now we know more about how HIV works, and it's just not a big worry. A concern, sure, but it's a hell of a lot easier to contract Hep C through a needle stick than HIV.

Re:Good (2, Informative)

sribe (304414) | more than 10 years ago | (#5776068)

Actually, no. HIV has precisely ONE disease vector: blood-to-blood transfer. And it requires a HUGE viral load to sustain an infection-- on the order of hundreds of thousands of particles.

Incorrect! There are 9 identified subtypes of the HIV virus and the HIV virus (each subtype) mutates as it spreads through the different systems of the body. The 1 subtype that has come to North America is highly contagious only in the form found in the blood. The forms found in semen, saliva and blood are hardly contagious at all. However, the subtype prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa is highly contagious in the form found in semen, which is a major contributor to the vastly higher rate of infection via heterosexual sex (along with the preference for so-called "dry sex" and the prevalence of other STD infections which involve open sores).

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764111)

Man, I wish I could mod you up right now.

I'm stunned that such a rational comment was possibl e on a topic like this on slashdot.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764218)

Are you in research, anonymous? I am.

Science is not a "zero sum" game. Studies of HIV have revealed important information about the immune system, for example, which may be of help in combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, or autoimmune diseases.

I'm a biologist but I don't study diseases at all. Is the pure knowledge I gain worth nothing?

Tens of millions of people in Africa DO have aids. Hundreds of millions of people in China COULD get AIDS - if we study how it spreads, which is what most of the NIH grants that mention gay people are actually about, we might prevent that.

Finally, there are serious diminishing returns in science when you tell the researchers what to work on.

1) There are only so many genuinely promising heart disease research projects for the NIH to fund. The bill to fund these projects (recall that the pharmaceutical industry provides a lot of funding, as well) is actually quite small - what should the NIH do with the rest of the money? Throw it at heart disease research projects which are NOT promising?

2) You can't just take an AIDS researcher, who presumably has come up with what he feels is unique insight into fighting AIDS, and move him into heart disease. He might accomplish something, but chances are he would have accomplished more doing the work he felt he was qualified to do. There is no question in my mind that science driven primarily by institutional goals is lousy science, but that science driven by the personal creativity of the scientists is good science.

3) The NIH exists to fund research that the pharmaceutical industry will not. In the long run, the pure knowledge gained has shown itself worthwhile, I assure you.

The article is not about avoiding AIDS research in favor of heart disease research. It is about avoiding "politically charged" AIDS research - research into how AIDS spreads, by and large, which is preventative research and has the highest yield per dollar spent - because of the politico-religious convictions of right wing zealots in congress who still think only gay people get AIDS.

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764555)

Tens of millions of people in Africa DO have aids.

That's true, and it's a tragedy. But to a great extent, there's NOTHING we can do about that. The populations of Europe and America and Australia are largely resistant to HIV because of CCR5-(delta)32. That mutation was selected for in the 12th C. during the Black Death. People living in Africa and Asia are much more susceptable to HIV than people of European extraction, and there's nothing we can do about that.

The fact remains that cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and trauma are all more significant killers than HIV. And among infectious diseases, malaria and influenza are bigger killers.

You can't just take an AIDS researcher, who presumably has come up with what he feels is unique insight into fighting AIDS, and move him into heart disease.

Of course not. HIV is an infectious disease; heart disease isn't. But you can move an HIV researcher over to influenza or malaria.

It is about avoiding "politically charged" AIDS research - research into how AIDS spreads, by and large, which is preventative research and has the highest yield per dollar spent - because of the politico-religious convictions of right wing zealots in congress who still think only gay people get AIDS.

Here's a clue for you, dude: AIDS is largely confined to the homosexual, drug user, and prostitute community. I say "largely" on purpose; it's not exclusively confined to that community, but it is mostly confined to that community. This shouldn't directly influence our decisions about researching the disease, but the simple fact is that AIDS will largely take care of itself if left alone. Faced with that, it's hard to justify spending money on AIDS when that money could be spent on cancer instead.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764722)

Can somebody tell me, please, exactly what was flamebaity about the parent post?

(It took me 15 seconds to type this reply. Slashdot thinks it should have taken me at least 20. Stupid Slashdot.)

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5771650)

I'm with this guy, someone please mod the parent up. I can see nothing that merits flamebait.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765018)

How do you know that there is nothing we can do about AIDS in Africa? Most people with AIDS in Africa are not prostitutes - however, prostitution (which is ubiquitous) is how the disease is transmitted.

The research *under discussion* is substantially social - do you think that it's impossible to study social trends, find which *educational* techniques successfully promote lower risk behavior and translate that information to China or Africa? I assume that you did not mean to suggest that we should avoid such an effort because of the genetic background of Africans.

Your cost/benefit analysis is flawed. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer; it does not follow that every single medical research dollar should be spent on it. You are mistaken about the ability of a scientist to productively switch research focus; even between what might seem to be related fields. Yes, we can have everyone, including me, work on heart disease research. People have been trying this for decades with cancer and it is NOT a good strategy.

The proposals discussed in the ORIGINAL ARTICLE are social in nature. They are VERY CHEAP, and can be quite effective. There is no way that a $25 million dollar search for anti-HIV compounds would mention who was gay!

Social studies are already being run and funded for most other diseases - sexually transmitted diseases are more complex, as social phenomena, than the flu, so studying their role in society is likely to be more productive, and more dollars should be spent. I'm all for maximising lives saved / $, but a lot more goes into that analysis than simply funding whichever disease kills the most people.

However, even the more expensive sort of HIV research ought to be done, if the research itself is good and will enable us to learn something. The quality of the science should be the controlling factor - because good science will teach us more about other disease conditions, down the road.

This is also true of the social research that was the focus of the *original article* - HIV is not the first sexually transmitted disease in human history, it won't be the last.

I don't think homosexuals, drug users and prostitutes form a single community, although of course there is considerable overlap here in NYC.

the simple fact is that AIDS will largely take care of itself if left alone.

Really? So, the infection rate among straight, non-drug using people who don't employ sex workers is going down? Oh, wait, it's not! It's going UP.

Even if it were not, I do not regard all these individuals death's as AIDS "take care of itself." Once they're dead, the problem becomes unsolvable, not solved. Saving their lives - that is taking care of AIDS. Do you see a crucial distinction between our assumptions here? In the future, we can screen embryos and no-one will ever have cystic vibrosis again. Ask someone who has it and see if they think the problem is taken care of.

I never mod anyone down but I can see how the moderator thought that was flamebait.

Sorry about my double post - it didn't show up for two hours so I posted again.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766019)

I assume that you did not mean to suggest that we should avoid such an effort because of the genetic background of Africans.

I am suggesting that people generally shouldn't do any of the things that lead to AIDS infection anyway. IV drug use? No. Unprotected sex? No. That's 99% of your AIDS infections right there, and the rest are the result of a health system that can't tell the difference between clean blood and infected blood.

So the kinds of social programs that will have a positive effect on AIDS transmission rates don't actually have anything to do with AIDS. They're behavior modification, plain and simple.

People have been trying this for decades with cancer and it is NOT a good strategy.

Um. Yes, it is. Most cancers are now survivable at +5 years. The cancers that were the subject of the most research-- childhood cancers, most particularly ALL-- are curable. That's right, curable.

Throwing money at a medical problem can result in that problem's being solved. It's a wonderful thing.

So, the infection rate among straight, non-drug using people who don't employ sex workers is going down? Oh, wait, it's not! It's going UP.

Hey, look, everybody! Here's a guy who doesn't understand disease processes in large populations!

The CCR5-(delta)32 mutation renders a person resistant to HIV, as well as other diseases like bubonic plague. (Yes, HIV is a virus and plague is a bacterial infection, but the two diseases are both affected by this mutation.) The population of Europe was decimated (well, not literally) in the 1300's by plague; the survivors were those who had CCR5-(delta)32. So now most people of European extraction have CCR5-(delta)32, giving them at least partial resistance to HIV.

If completely left alone, the same process will occur in Africa and Asia. Many will die, perhaps as many as 50% of the population. Those who survive will pass on their resistance to AIDS and similar diseases to their children. The problem will (ta da!) solve itself.

Saving their lives - that is taking care of AIDS.

No. Saving an individual life, even millions upon millions of them, is not taking care of the disease. It's taking care of the individuals. In a decade or a century or a millennium, another virus or bacterium will come along that also affects people who don't have CCR5-(delta)32, and we'll be right back where we started from.

That's not to say that we shouldn't treat AIDS. Absolutely we should. Preventable deaths are tragedies. But we shouldn't delude ourselves about what we're doing. When we defeat AIDS and other infectious diseases with vaccines or treatments, we're guaranteeing another pandemic in the future. That's a choice that we should go into with our eyes wide open.

In the future, we can screen embryos and no-one will ever have cystic vibrosis again.

There are those who believe that screening embryos for the purpose of choosing which will be brought to term and which won't is unacceptable. There are those who believe it is a practice that must never be allowed. Just for your information.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767774)

This is starting to remind of that Dilbert cartoon where the boss learned one obscure technical fact and went around tormenting the engineers with it.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766877)

Why don't you show us some numbers, instead of simply saying that AIDS is "mostly confined" to any particular group. I know you think that, but your belief is wrong! Read the other response to your post, you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767682)

Why don't you show numbers to the opposite? AIDS spreads by blood to blood contact. It's thought to have spread to humans from monkies in Africa. It spread to the USA through a gay flight attendant. It's spread mostly via assfucking and needlesharing since then, with isolated cases that spread other ways.

Your attitude is dumb. We know how it spreads, and wasting time finding medical research to prove to your dumb ass what the facts are is a waste of time. How about you go look some numbers up, you insignificant retard? You asking the rest of us for numbers doesn't prove your case (and it doesn't disprove our facts), and it shows you for the stupid shitbird that you are.

Re:Good (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5769473)

While I may agree with the gist of what you said, you did get one thing wrong. AIDS is spread through the contact of bodily fluids with an infected persons bodily fluids. Blood is not the only way, another way would be contract with semen.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5769720)

HIV is spread through the transmission of virus particles. That can be blood-to-blood or semen-to-semen or any other vector for carrying a sufficient load of live virus particles.

The thing about AIDS, though, is that you have to be infected with a very large number of virus particles in order for that infection to take hold. A few thousand aren't going to cut it. You need hundreds of thousands, or even millions.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5769853)

Are you willing to bet your life on this?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766686)

"The article is not about avoiding AIDS research in favor of heart disease research. It is about avoiding "politically charged" AIDS research - research into how AIDS spreads, by and large, which is preventative research and has the highest yield per dollar spent - because of the politico-religious convictions of right wing zealots in congress who still think only gay people get AIDS."

Umm no, but you almost got it right. It has nothing to do with the right wing and everything to do with the left wing, And their facist politically correct movement. They don't want people to say or think certain things. Like its not nice to say gay people have "anal sex", you can only say they have sex.

Re:Good (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5768223)

You think this criticism comes from the left? Do you have any statements by liberal senators to back this up? Quoth the article:

Over the years, studies on cloning, abortion, animal rights, needle-exchange programs and various types of AIDS research have been criticized by members of Congress.

Now, I recall when these criticisms were delivered, and every one of them came from a republican.

Democrats may or may not have a politically correct deal about using euphemisms for homosexual acts. I don't see any evidence for this, however.

You can find a number of republicans, however, opposed to this sort of research on principle; they don't think it should be done at all. Given that the republicans control all three branches of government at this time, it is utterly facetious to blame "liberal democrats" for this recently emerging policy. Why don't you blame them for the excessive size of the tax cut, while you're at it?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5771753)

Umm no, but you almost got it right. It has nothing to do with the right wing and everything to do with the left wing, And their facist politically correct movement. They don't want people to say or think certain things. Like its not nice to say gay people have "anal sex", you can only say they have sex.

Yeah, right. According to you people (read: you morons), wasn't it those "PC thugs" who had it changed to "anal sex" and the like in the first place?

Besides, that article says that the Bush Administration is the reason for this new concern about language. Do you think the Bush Administration is full of facist left-wingers? It's people like you who are responsible for this particular bit of "facism". Deal with it.

Re:Good (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5769430)

What is there to study about how AIDS is contracted? We know it's spread through the contact with infected bodily fluid. Who gives a damn is the person who has AIDS is a prostitue, gay, or both. The point is irrelevant, and it's a waste of money to fund stupid studies on the social aspects of how they got AIDS. I can sum up most of the cases with one phrase: "they had sex with someone with AIDS, or HIV". What more is there to know. We won't learn anything useful in the by studying the social aspects of how they got AIDS.
Now, if you're super-rich and want to fund such a research project then go ahead, but in times when we need to be looking at how dollars are spent, the government needs to be more careful on how it spends it's research dollars.
There is one sure fire method of not getting AIDS/HIV, and that is to practice abstinance. You must also know your doctor and dentist, and make sure they have proper screening of blood (and properly dispose of, or clean, equipment). It is immature and childish of you to blame things on the right wing. Abstinance is the ONLY proven method to work ALL of the time. The next best things is to be in a monogomous(spelling?) relationship for the rest of your life.
If you act careless, then you stand a good chance of getting AIDS/HIV. There really isn't anything worth learning about social causes of AIDS. That money is better spent elsewhere.
Why don't you give me millions of dollars and I'll write up a paper on it telling you how AIDS is spread. At this point in time, I'd say your average high school kid should be able to tell you that information.

Re:Good (1)

abulafia (7826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764244)

Is it really right to spend $X on AIDS research when one hundred times more people die of cancer or heart disease or stroke every year?

So, since the USG is so carefully focused on only those research projects that provide the greatest good for the greatest number, it is right to deny research pertaining to a short list of "bad" things?

And, of course, the USG only funds those projects which return the greatest good for the greatest number, which is why the tax bill doesn't include studies into the sex lives of grasshoppers, or research into intelligent hopping landmines.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764598)

Who's USG?

Wrong (2, Interesting)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764259)

This is not how science works. scientist A, who spent years working on AIDS, cannot just 'spend some time working on cancer'. heck, scientists working on cancer cannot spend time on it unless they have ideas and theories to test. Scientists ask for funding because they have an idea or theory they want to test which they believe could further understanding, you cannot just throw money/time at a problem and have it be equally spent by arbitrary research groups. perhaps they already gave all the tier 1 (likely to produce results) scientists working on strokes money, should they then grant the requests of those unlikely to produce results in strokes because strokes are a bigger threat than AIDS? no, they should give the money to the GOOD projects working on AIDS (or anything) likely to produce results.

where to spend money does not just depend on the disease they are fighting, but the quality of the proposal, its chances of success, and what it might uncover.

seriouly, there is a lot more money out there than sure-thing proposals. where it is spent requires more thought than just what the scientists are trying to show, and it is a grey area sometimes.

so, yes. it is right to spend $X in AIDS research if the project shows more promise than some other project. It is offensive to think that just dollars spent == scientific advancement. it is just not true.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764567)

This is not how science works. scientist A, who spent years working on AIDS, cannot just 'spend some time working on cancer'.

You're thinking of it wrong.

Here you have two labs. One lab is working on something that kills millions of people every year. The other is working on something that kills ten people every year. Should lab #2 get the same funding as lab #1? Of course not. The funding should be proportionate to the importance of the work, and while pure science is all well and good, at some point practical considerations must enter into the decision-making process.

So lab #1 gets the grant, and lab #2 subsists off of private funding or closes down.

It's not that cut-and-dried in the real world, of course, but that's basically how it works.

It is offensive to think that just dollars spent == scientific advancement. it is just not true.

Let me guess: grad student, right? ;-)

Re:Good (-1, Redundant)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764306)

Are you in research, anonymous? I am.

Science is not a "zero sum" game. Studies of HIV have revealed important information about the immune system, for example, which may be of help in combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, or autoimmune diseases.

I'm a biologist but I don't study diseases at all. Is the pure knowledge I gain worth nothing?

Tens of millions of people in Africa DO have aids. Hundreds of millions of people in China COULD get AIDS - if we study how it spreads, which is what most of the NIH grants that mention gay people are actually about, we might prevent that.

Finally, there are serious diminishing returns in science when you tell the researchers what to work on.

1) There are only so many genuinely promising heart disease research projects for the NIH to fund. The bill to fund these projects (recall that the pharmaceutical industry provides a lot of funding, as well) is actually quite small - what should the NIH do with the rest of the money? Throw it at heart disease research projects which are NOT promising?

2) You can't just take an AIDS researcher, who presumably has come up with what he feels is unique insight into fighting AIDS, and move him into heart disease. He might accomplish something, but chances are he would have accomplished more doing the work he felt he was qualified to do. There is no question in my mind that science driven primarily by institutional goals is lousy science, but that science driven by the personal creativity of the scientists is good science.

3) The NIH exists to fund research that the pharmaceutical industry will not. In the long run, the pure knowledge gained has shown itself worthwhile, I assure you.

The article is not about avoiding AIDS research in favor of heart disease research. It is about avoiding "politically charged" AIDS research - research into how AIDS spreads, by and large, which is preventative research and has the most significant impact per dollar spent - because of the politico-religious convictions of right wing zealots in congress who still think only gay people get AIDS.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764835)

"If you want funding for your AIDS research, you're going to have to convince the organization offering you the money that your research is more important than research that will help tens, or even hundreds, of millions of people over the long term."

Like AIDS, right? According to the United Nations [disasterrelief.org] , over the course of the last two decades 22 million have died because of AIDS. They currently estimate that there are another 34.1 million infected persons right now, the vast majority of them in developing nations. Most of those countries are extremely poor and have very limited educational opportunities both in general and to combat ignorance about STD's. Result: explosive growth and a plauge that is decimating their populations--in that most productive 15-45 age group. The World Health Organization [who.org] presents an even less rosy picture, as can be found here [who.int] . Wow. A 33% adult infection rate in Zimbabwe [who.int] for a disease that has what, a 99.9% or better fatality rate? Not even Ebola's fatality rate is that good. Another figure that I found in my very brief web search was that in 2000 alone there were an estimated 5.3 million people newly infected--infection rates are continuing to climb.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5765512)

According to the United Nations, over the course of the last two decades 22 million have died because of AIDS.

Big whooping deal. More people than that die of diabetes worldwide every year.

Sorry, but AIDS simply isn't the most significant public health problem out there. Everything you said is more true of cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and trauma. Our efforts should be spent where they will do the most good.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5766048)

Sorry, but AIDS simply isn't the most significant public health problem out there. Everything you said is more true of cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and trauma. Our efforts should be spent where they will do the most good."

Except that it isn't at all. The old get the lion's share of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, not the most productive age bracket in society which AIDS hits. Stroke and heart disease are often synonyms for old age--when my 97-year-old grandfather and survivor of multiple strokes eventually passes away hopefully a good number of years from now, when the obituary lists cause of death it could just as easily put in old age for either stroke or heart attack. An estimated 150 million have diabetes, most commonly middle aged persons, but only in a handful of small isolated populations does its penetration level ever become comparable to Zimbabwe's 1 in 3 adult AIDS cases. In these small populations current research has implicated drastic recent changes in diet and excercise to be the dominant factor in diabetes cases.

Let's get back to that 1 in 3 level of adult AIDS penetration in Zimbabwe. Go out to the mall or to the university or anywhere people 15-45 are found in numbers. Now imagine that 1 in 3 is carrying a disease that will kill them unless something else gets them first. Now multiply that out to cover an entire nation. Factor in the low education levels and social stigma of AIDS that help it spread to even higher levels. Imagine what it's like when you're a 8-year-old kid who's got a 1 in 3 chance of in the next 5 years of having your teacher die, your mom die, your dad die, aunts, uncles, cousins too. This isn't some "won't somebody think of the children" crapola either. These kids if they grow up at all will have lower education levels plus whatever value you get from parenting and family, plus a society in ruins--things that foster the continuing spread of AIDS.

Imagine it spreading to the nations next to you. Imagine that prevailing attitudes about AIDS have allowed people with HIV to donate blood, which is then mixed according to blood type with many others, contaminating 10's or 100's of units of blood--blood that is later used for transfusions, infecting the nation at large. This probably went on for years in China, where prevailing attitudes about medicine may be a culprit in the spread of SARS recently. It is an incontrovertible fact that AIDS is a contender for the next worldwide plauge. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and trauma are a pinprick even when combined in comparison to having 1/3 (and rising!) of your nation's workforce infected with something that will kill them. It'll be really interesting and I expect terrifying to see what happens to sub-Saharan Africa when it gets the coming population crash.

AIDS deserves heavy funding, and if you write a grant and have to worry that matter-of-fact descriptions like "sex workers" might be the factor in getting your grant rejected as opposed to its merits,that's just plain bullshit foisted upon the world by petty beaurocrats who are more interested in their myopic ideology than in fixing a major and growing problem.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766663)

The old get the lion's share of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, not the most productive age bracket in society which AIDS hits.

In those age ranges-- teens to 45-year-olds-- the leading cause of death is accidental injury. We need to take the money we're wasting on AIDS and double the number of level 1 trauma centers around the country. Our hospitals are woefully underfunded, and people are dying because of it.

AIDS deserves heavy funding

Sorry, you're wrong. AIDS just isn't that big a deal. If a hundred million perverts or drug addicts die, the net result for the affected societies and the world at large is a positive one.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767718)

AIDS isn't that big of a deal. Humanity as a whole is developing an immunity to it, and in another century, AIDS will be like smallpox.

Most people I've seen here that are calling for more AIDS research seem to have political or social reasons. They seem to be promoting a homosexual agenda. I personally don't care what happens to homosexuals. My interest in AIDS research goes only as far as what happens if I catch it through being exposed to infected blood via transfusion or cutting myself. If you want to research how to keep someone infected with a virus that kills 99.9% of the people it infects alive for 4 years instead of 2, then fine, but don't ask me to spend my money doing it.

What's wrong with you, anyway, that you feel like you have to promote such a homosexual agenda? Are you that insecure about yourself, or do you just truly want to help some sort of cause? I rather think it sounds like you want to strike out against the current administration here in America. If so, your arbitrary choice of topics to rant about are hurting those of us who actually care about stuff, rather than just bitching for the sake of it.

Complete and total ignorance (4, Insightful)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764854)

Your post displays a complete and total ignorance of how science works. The simple fact is, we never know what's going to lead to what. Prof. Gorovsky at the University of Rochester has spend years researching a single-celled Eukaryote, Tetrahymena, which doesn't superficially appear to have any relation to human problems. However, it is in Tetrahymena that telomeres and telomerase were discovered, which has major implications for cancer. It was in Tetrahymena that many advances in RNA-interference, a technique which may be useful for shutting down (for example) viral proteins in humans, have occured. Studying biology at a basic level on primitive organisms often has enormous impacts in other areas. And it works vica-versa too, as well as between different areas on a similar level. Research on HIV and AIDS doesn't just lead to more knowledge about how to stop HIV; it leads to information on our immune system, and all sorts of other biological processes in humans.

Of course, your post is exactly how these idiots in Congress think. In their puny little brains, somehow it makes sense that the research done in NASA has lead to many other good things, and it should be funded, even though it's direct goals are completely useless to human beings; while the same should not be true in the biological sciences.

Another example (4, Informative)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765420)

Another excellent example of this is good old polymerase chain reaction (PCR, natch.). The old enzyme that made it sooo much easier to do (insert DNA manipulation of choice here) came out, according to the dimbulbs who give out Golden Fleece awards, "a $1 million study on algae [sic] in warm water." A second example near and dear to my heart is green fluorescent protein (GFP). This tool vital to modern molecular biology eventually fell out of a study on why jellyfish glow when you poke them.

I agree, world is full of people that = stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766909)

The amount of people and others (ei: golden fleece award types) who don't have a clue how basic science works, is truly astronomical (here in north america).
Just where do these people think all the science and technology of modern life came to be? The fact that most discoveries made by pure science came about accidentally and pure science has to be done before applied science, can develop the vast amount of stuff in our modern world is entirely clueless by these people. For instance, the amount of basic science money required to, say, develop cures for cancer, eliminate aging etc (biotech, nanotech) are dwarfed by the costs of war science/tech, waging wars, arms races, not to mention the basics costs of getting old in this current society with it's current state of medical technology..if you spent the dozens of trillions (100's x billions) spent over the last 20 odd years on war infrastructire/war etc, we could have had very advanced biotech/nanotech right now, instead of the next 10, 15 or 20 years....

Re:I agree, world is full of people that = stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766926)

Yes. That's it exactly. Nobody understands how science works but you. It's impossible for anyone to make a good decision about policy unless they have two PhD's and an MD. That's the ticket.

Re:I agree, world is full of people that = stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767724)

Certainly! That's some clearheaded thinking! Let's completely stop spending money on defending the country, and focus on diseases affecting other parts of the world!

Grow up. Some of us don't want to live in an America that's been conquered by Islamic fundamentalists OR leftwing nutballs.

For that matter, even with our (by your count) paltry spending on medical research, the USA _still_ manages to make advances as well as other countries, which apparently only spend money on medical research, and never at all on defense.

And here I was browsing at -1 to moderate.... (1)

Kibo (256105) | more than 11 years ago | (#5768087)

Yeah war is bad. But how about all the good things that come from war.

Computers, while the transistor was first postulated in the 1920's iirc, it wasn't popularized until after the governments were supporting the infant industry for a couple of decades. It turns out computing things like artillary tables takes a little bit of skill if you want them to be accurate, and it's pretty boring stuff if you're good enough to be accurate. Fortunately, sometimes really smart people get together and tackle tough problems like writing a computer program to do something like calculate artillary tables, or crack codes on something perhaps not as smart as a stoplight. Which gives them all kinds of ideas about how they can make that difficult problem less of a pain in the ass, which has a side benefit of bringing other problems into the realm of solvible. A couple score of years later and presto a trillion dollar industry.

Or Aluminum cans. World wide information networks internet, satillites, tv, cellphones and otherwise. I don't think I need to remind anyone where jet engines came from! The world we all enjoy, it wasn't just protected by the weapons built with those billions, it was built on the revalations uncovered in their pursuit. Millitary investmens took us from marconi, and the spirit of st. louis to telepresence software, and the networks that support it. Far from buying us peace alone, they bought us time. Something few other investments can boast.

Re:Complete and total ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766034)

You're a known troll. Please don't reply to my posts any more.

Re:Good (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765020)

Its not just what TYPE of people, its also WHERE...

Too many people in poorer countries die of simpler diseases like Malaria and Leprosy. Most medical funds, not just national as in the US, but global, funding from international companies and organizations are directed to the people where the funding comes from. Imagine the amount spent on Cancer and AIDS, then imagine the number of people dying from these, compared to the simpler diseases with no access to the medication so readily available elsewhere. The same amount of money spent in eradicating these ilnessess would save far more lives, but mostly in poorer countries.

Now even in the so called RICH countries, theres bias. In the USA, theres enormous bias against gay and fat people. They just deserve their ilnesses, while the smokers getting lung cancer and the relatively few falling to breast cancer should deserve research paid for by the whole countrys medical budget.

Contrast this with people in Afghanistan and India who lose their lives to Cholera and Malaria.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5765526)

Sure, that's it. We're all prejudiced against tubbies and faggots. That's why we're not interested in spending money researching AIDS. Except... wait. We're spending A FORTUNE every year researching diabetes and heart disease, diseases which are causally linked to obesity. So it must just be the faggots, then.

Or there's another possibility: you're a fucking idiot.

Re:Good (1)

sllim (95682) | more than 11 years ago | (#5772047)

I won't post anonymously.

For the people that can't read between your lines I will just make the point you are making a little bit more clear.

The majority of AIDS victims are sex workers, drug users and gay people. Only a minority of of AIDS victims are heterosexual-non sex working-non-drug using people.

The majority of heart disease victims, stroke victims and victims of the common cold are normal people.

Therefore we need to take the resources from HIV away and put them to a better cause.

Is that at little clearer?

Why did we go to the Moon? Because it was hard.
That was good enough reason for the moon and it is a good enough reason to cure Aids.

Booooring (3, Funny)

jeramybsmith (608791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764070)

They're asking grant requesters to leave controversial topics out of grant requests to keep from having to answer questions like "did my tax money go to fund a study or whores?" or "did my tax money go to study buttsex?". If you look at the NYT article, it seems there is really no censorship going on. They are simple asking for discretion on the part of people requesting grants.

Re:Booooring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764105)

The thing is, I think this is not "mean republicans denying AIDS research". I think it's crazy liberals who do not want AIDS to be associated with gay men, anal sex or hookers. After all it's "not a gay disease". Well, no it isn't - but it does happen to be that it is statistically (not numerically) a greater problem for drug users and gay men.

Anyway... it sounds lame either way.

Re:Booooring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5765275)

Actually it's victorian conservatives and their political correctness trying to politicize everything, including science.

Dear Lord, please keep your followers out of things that they don't understand, and which they could really fuck up. Amen.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764073)

This is entirely appropriate.

Look, there are lots of diseases that affect human beings. Everything from the common cold to ebola. Some of them are very rare, some widespread. Some are deadly, some place a heavy burden on our health care system, and some are mere nuisances.

Medical science is a zero-sum game. Every dollar or minute spent trying to find a cure for disease X cannot be spent on disease Y. There's only so much money and effort to go around.

Diabetes, stroke, cancer, heart disease, and trauma all kill more people every year worldwide than HIV. Not a few more, either; we're talking about millions of people every year.

Now, every educated person knows that HIV is not limited to gay people, or to drug users, or to people who have anal sex. HIV is out there, and everybody is at risk of contracting it, though for the vast majority of people that risk is statistically insignificant.

But the notion, correct or incorrect, that HIV is confined to a particular group or that it's only transmitted by a particular illegal or socially unacceptable activity gives one pause. Is it really right to spend $X on AIDS research when one hundred times more people die of cancer or heart disease or stroke every year?

If you want funding for your AIDS research, you're going to have to convince the organization offering you the money that your research is more important than research that will help tens, or even hundreds, of millions of people over the long term.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764079)

Stupid Slashdot database errors.

Sorry to everybody for the duplicate post.

stupidity, genetic and environmental (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764119)

USA government, as any other, is enough stupid to do that, isn't it? Sex will never stop, but AIDS is out there. I used to think that politicians are dumb only in Eastern Europe, but now I feel better. I wonder how politicians buy condoms anyway, aren't they ashamed. Who actually told them that condoms make it secure of HIV? I think that's exactly People using phrases like the one mentioned above in their grant requests. Let us hope mentally normal people are more than the genetically and environmentally injured.

wording (5, Funny)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764191)

many have been verbally warned that phrases like: "sex workers," "men who sleep with men," "anal sex" and "needle exchange," may cause the government to withhold grant money.

Instead they were requested to use phrases like "hookers", "faggots", "buttfucking" and "junkies".

Re:wording (2, Interesting)

driptray (187357) | more than 11 years ago | (#5766478)

This isn't funny, it's insightful. This administration has a negative view of all those things, and so wants negative sounding words to describe them. These positive (or at least neutral) words don't allow them to vilify and demonise certain groups.

  • Sex worker - this dignifies prostitutes and puts them in the same class as all other "workers". It doesn't sound as negative as "prostitute" or "hooker".

  • Men who sleep with men - this implies that straight people can have gay sex, and that's a bit unsettling to people who want the comfort of neat little labels like "faggot" or "homosexual". It's so much easier to vilify these straightforward categories.

  • Anal sex - This phrase is dangerous because it doesn't explicitly mention homosexuals - it also covers male-female anal sex. If men and women do it together then it's harder to demonise.

  • Needle exchange - "Exchange" is a such a nice word, connoting such lovey-dovey concepts as reciprocity and sharing. It's just not consistent with vilifying drug users, or with prosecuting the war against drugs.

Re: examples of liberal thought police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766720)

These are the people who claim that their protecting your first amendment.

And for Heaven's sake... (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767638)


> > many have been verbally warned that phrases like: "sex workers," "men who sleep with men," "anal sex" and "needle exchange," may cause the government to withhold grant money.

> Instead they were requested to use phrases like "hookers", "faggots", "buttfucking" and "junkies".

And for Heaven's sake, don't even think about recommending "spank the monkey" as part of an abstinence program!

What's wrong with monkey spanking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767677)

A healthy jack every morning ensures that no woman will ever have the upper hand on you during the day. Plus jacking off gives quick relief, you can go back to enjoying the better things in life with no ANNOYING BITCH insisting on wanting to talk or "cuddle" after fucking.

Ever since I went to all jacking, I've had more time to have fun. The money I've saved that would have been spend on the bitch, man let's just say 550 of meanest horsepower Detroit has ever assembled serves as my chariot every day. I would have never been able to buy this with some gash draining my cash.

Trust me, relationships are overrated. Ever since dumping my last GF, I can eat whenever I want, do whatever I want.

Re:wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767739)

Okay. I've had enough of this. I'm damned ready to take back the word "faggot." It _actually_ refers to a bundle of sticks, like kindling. Take back words stolen from us by the homosexuals!

Re:wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5779343)

This is a little pansey, but what about the god-damned rainbow. Of all the child-like, wonderful things they could have stolen, they took the fucking rainbow as their symbol. I mean, come on.

Preparing an abstract for the Bush administration (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 10 years ago | (#5772235)

ABSTRACT. Evidence of elevated HIV incidence and relapse to promiscuous fucking among young nonrecovering homosexuals in Vancouver Canada.

Objective: To determine HIV incidence among young faggots and investigate trends in unsafe buttfucking behaviours.

Methods: Beginning May/95, fudgepackers aged 18-30 who had not previously been punished by God for their immoral behavior were enrolled in a prospective study in Vancouver, Canada. At baseline and annually, pole climbers completed a questionnaire on their abhorrent lifestyle choices and had an HIV test. Behaviours pertained to the year prior to baseline, and baseline to first follow-up (mean: 15 mo.). HIV incidence density was calculated. Among bone smokers remaining HIV negative, we compared baseline and follow-up responses for raw poopushing with regular (> or = 1 contact per mo.) and casual (< 1 contact per mo.) poofter partners. Among rimadonnas reporting always using condoms during buttfucking prior to baseline, we defined 'relapse' as any filthy sexual deviant behavior reported at follow-up. Odds ratios (ORs) for relapse were tested using McNemar's test.

Results: Of 386 butthole surfers at follow-up, HIV incidence was 1.96 per 100 pyrs (95% CI: 0.74, 3.18). Of 10 seroconverters, 4 reported paying for hookers and 3 used drugs to support terrorism (including one pretty-boy hustler.). There reported having unprotected buttfucking with a sissy-boy they knew was going to give them AIDS. Among HIV negative poofters with regular partners (n = 266), odds of relapse were elevated for unprotected top (OR = 2.4; 95% CI: 1.5-4.4.) and bottom fudgepacking (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3-3.3). Among HIV negative men with no morals (n = 261), similar elevations were observed for unprotected top (OR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.1-3.0) but not bottom anal crapshooting (OR = 1.2; 95% CI: 0.7-2.2). The true extent of incidence and relapse may be under-estimated, since homos who were eligible for follow-up but who had not yet returned were younger (p < 0.001), had less education (p < 0.001), were more likely to be unemployed (p < 0.001), non-white (p = 0.004), voting Democratic (p = 1.0), and were more likely to pay gay hookers for sex (p < 0.001), than queers who returned for follow-up (80% return rate).

Conclusions: We observed elevated HIV incidence among young sexual deviants in Vancouver. Perverts who are also filthy junkies, engage in paying young fuckboys, or who knowingly take risks with AIDS-infected fairies, may be at highest risk. Our analysis is limited by low power, self-reported data, and differential follow-up. However, early indications of a relapse to homosexuality are consistent with early incidence data. Our findings underscore the urgent need for Bibles for young ass pirates, particularly those limp-wristed hookers who shoot up. Further study of attitudes towards abstinence and reasons for not liking girls are required.

In times gone by... (2, Informative)

mlush (620447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764198)

.... a womans ankle refered to the who leg up to the waist and her stomach refered to everything between the waist and the neck.

It certinally caused doctors diagnosis problems when a woman (with breast cancer) presented with pains in her stomach... OTOH considering the state of surgery at the time it may have been just as well

Revised terminology: (0, Redundant)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764334)

many have been verbally warned that phrases like: "sex workers," "men who sleep with men," "anal sex" and "needle exchange," may cause the government to withhold grant money."

Orgasm professionals, biandro-relations, fudge packing, and hypodermic renewal.

-

Basically, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5764586)

don't use wording which invokes association with things that the said organisation that is supplying the funding would like to ban. In this case, homosexuality.

Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (4, Insightful)

Alethes (533985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5764873)

The reason the government doesn't like phrases like "sex workers", "anal sex" and "men who sleep with men" is because they indicate that AIDS discriminates, which is not what the government would like you to believe. If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away. Consequently, politicians and activist groups would lose a manipulation tool to siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

I'm not trying to troll, but it's just common sense that if you're concerned about the risks that come with an activity, you either don't participate in that activity or you (not your fellow citizens) accept the risks. You like Big Macs? You accept the risk of clogged arteries. You like to smoke? You accept the risk of lung cancer. You like games on Windows? You accept the risk of Outlook viruses. You like sex with prostitutes? You accept the risk of AIDS. Even my dog understands that there are consequences for certain actions.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5765271)

Qualification: I'm a teenager infected with HIV.

Your logic is flawed. People don't make these decisions "to put themselves at risk" in a vaccum. As a sophemore in high school my biology teacher (the most respected teacher in the school) took it upon himself to convince us that condoms didn't work and that abstinance was the only choice. He used pseudo-scienctific terms and charts and graphics to convince us that condoms were incappable of blocking the virus. This was only a few years ago.

When I started becoming sexually active (and kids do, there's no denying it), I was completely under the impression that the use of a condom was futile unless attempting to prevent pregnancy.

Social research is imporantant in preventing this sort of FUD from being spread around.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5767685)

When I started becoming sexually active (and kids do, there's no denying it), I was completely under the impression that the use of a condom was futile unless attempting to prevent pregnancy.


And now, you're a poster child for social darwinism. Learn to think for yourself.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5774189)

And you're a fucking idiot worthy of extermination.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

jmccay (70985) | more than 11 years ago | (#5769571)

Why is this interesting, or worth a value of 4? The only thing this comment says is that the kid didn't bother to get the facts when he gambled with his life. There is no nice way to put it.
Even condom manufacturers will admit that condoms are not 100% effect in preventing pregnany or contracting an std (and they don't work at all with some). Chances are you misinterpreted what the teacher said.
The ONLY 100% sure way not to get an STD through sex is not to have sex. Any other way to run a risk of getting an STD through sex. The next best thing is if both partners don't already have an STD, and they are in a committed relationship for life. It's that simple, and not all teenagers choose to have sex. There is enough information out there for you to read if you chose to look it up. Stop blaming the teacher for a choice YOU made. You chose to have sex with an infectted person. You chose not to find out more information before you had sex. There is no real nice way to put it. You gambled with your life and lost it. That can happen when you have sex.
I might be nicer if you contracted it from a bad dentist who chose not to properly clean him/her-self between patients, or if you contracted it through a blood transfusion. From you post, it seems like you contracted it through some sexual act. I am also assuming you don't live in a third country where information is hard to get. Ultimately, you alone are responcible for your actions as I am responcible for my actions.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Insightful)

Kwil (53679) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771870)

So you're suggesting that having listened to his biology teacher doesn't count as "getting the facts"?

Tell me, where do we draw the lines at when we've "gotten the facts"? After all, a biology teacher seems a reasonable place to get the facts on a biological disease.. or maybe that's just me. Of course, if we can't trust the biology teacher, why should we trust the biology books? After all, they're what the teacher likely got the knowledge from. And if we can't trust the books, why should we trust the scientists?

The problem with your position is that you would put us in the place where we need to verify everything with our own two eyes before we take any action at all.. sorry, I just don't have the time for that, and frankly, neither do you.

Now, if he'd have gotten the information from kids in the schoolground, you might have a point. The thing is, he got his bad information from a source he should have been able to trust as having good information. The source is what makes the difference.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5775455)

You are missing the poster's point. The original poster CHOSE to do something that was dangerous, and new it was dangerous. There is enough information out there where the poster could make an educated choice. The original poster chose to have sex, and now the poster is trying to pawn the blame off on the biology teacher. It's simply the original poster's fault. Plain and simple.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771995)

And just what unsafe activity are you doing right now because you were intentionally misled to believe it is OK? Don't know? Of course not, if you did know, you wouldn't have to find out the hard way.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5775509)

You are missing the point. The original person had more than enough information, and could find a lot more. That person CHOSE to have sex with someone who they weren't sure if they had AIDS/HIV. Now they are paying for that choice. This is not the 70s or or early 80s where STD information was scarce. No, this is 2003, and there is plenty of information, and I am willing to bet the original poster DIDN'T listen carefully when the biology teacher was talking. The original poster should stop trying to blame his, or her, situation on the teacher and own up to his, or her, choice to have sex...thus playing the gambling game!!! For all we know, this person could have been a guy advertising to give bl** jobs in a store bathroom by writing on a wall.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 10 years ago | (#5772069)

The ONLY 100% sure way not to get an STD through sex is not to have sex.

The ONLY 100% sure way not to die in a car accident is not to leave your house.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 10 years ago | (#5772114)

>>The ONLY 100% sure way not to get an STD through sex is not to have sex.

>The ONLY 100% sure way not to die in a car accident is not to leave your house.

<spirit message>
You're going to be soooo red when that 1998 Toyota SUV comes crashing through the living room wall while your watching Buffy
</spirit message>

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5772259)

Good! Looks like all Slashdotters are safe, then.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

weeboo0104 (644849) | more than 10 years ago | (#5775598)

I agree. I'm almost 30 and I dated a woman who was 26. She was totally paranoid that a condom would not protect her from diseases. Never mind the fact that I _KNOW_ that I am disease free.

She was so paranoid, she wanted STD tests on a monthly basis even though we were monogomous.

Too much hassle from a nut. I dumped her.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Insightful)

wrenkin (71468) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765342)

If you have a country like Zimbabwe where a third of the population is infected (according to the WHO) then I don't think that 'avoiding prostitutes' is going to protect your average citizen.

The fact is that Tens of millions of people are infected. In parts of sub-saharan Africa, a boy born today has a 50% chance of getting AIDS, and thus probably dying from it. This is a serious problem, and invoking your dog doesn't make it less so.

Tell those who received blood transfusions that AIDS discriminates. Once it gets to such high percentages in the general population, your country is screwed Socially and Economically. So much for your working-aged population. Something has to be done, and passing judgement on them for having sex at all won't let them have their country back.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Informative)

e_pluribus_funk (648835) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765374)

'If you have a country like Zimbabwe where a third of the population is infected (according to the WHO) then I don't think that 'avoiding prostitutes' is going to protect your average citizen.'

This is a bit disengenous. One of the primary vectors for transmission in Africa has been prostitution.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

jimmars83 (654100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767409)

That clinches it. I am NEVER going to Africa.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Flamebait)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765463)

I'm not trying to troll, but it's just common sense that if you're concerned about the risks that come with an activity, you either don't participate in that activity or you

Well, and whaddayaknow, a large chunk of AIDS funding goes towards education to let people know about that. Because, you see, kids aren't born with that kind of knowledge.

Unfortunately, many of the same people who keep talking about people "accepting responsibility for their actions" want to keep the government from giving that information from teenagers.

If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away. Consequently, politicians and activist groups would lose a manipulation tool to siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

You are pitting logic against the raging hormones of hundreds of milions of teenagers? You are a fool. STDs have been with us throughout history. If the Spanish inquisition, the Pope, the Nazis, and the Chinese, haven't managed to get rid of them over the last several thousand years, right wing moralizing by US politicians and their followers sure as hell isn't going to do it either. People like Helms have envy the Spanish inquisition, but they are wimps in comparison.

siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

Yes, that is compassionate conservatism in a nutshell: "these people made a mistake, so let them rot in hell". That's a lot of how conservative thinking works, where "hell" is varyingly "untreated AIDS", "homelessness", or "prison rape". It's an OK position to take--civilizations have done so throughout history. Let's just drop the "compassionate", "moral", and "Christian" pretenses usually associated with such positions: such views are rooted in greed, selfishness, and social Darwinism.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767668)

and social Darwinism.
That's an interesting question.

Let me ask you this: the average gay male in his life time has more sexual partners than the typical heterosexual male. I've seen studies that suggest a hetro male will have ~7 partners, where a homo male will have ~50.

Let's not go that far - I can't vouch for any numbers except to say that it is a pretty-well regarded notion that gays are more promiscious and participate in much, much more unprotected sex.

There is a lot of visible evidence to back this up. Gay males are the largest group of Americans infected with HIV. The number continues to go up, while other infection rates decline or stay steady.

At the same time, *every* single American student has heard about AIDS, HIV, and how it is caused, spread, contracted, etc. It is all over the place. Every single American school-child by the time he/she is sexually active knows about AIDS - that is sexual in nature, that it occurs from a transmitted virus, and that is 100% preventable.

At this point in time, over 99% of all American AIDS/HIV cases are contracted from unsafe sex or intravenous drug use. That's the bottom line. It is a earth-shatteringly rare event to get it from a blood transfusion. Perhaps a handful of cases a year are spread via accidental infection - EMTs, doctors, health-workers, family members, etc.

The accidental AIDS victims have my sympathy.

As far as anyone else goes - how far should society go; how far should government go to protect these people from themselves? Gays and straight a like - the facts are there, the data is there, the publicity is there, yet people - Gay young men especially - continue to kill themselves needlessly.

How much should we spend? How much should we try to cure something which has no business at all being spread? We are appropriating money and resources and good will from the public to cure a disease which doesn't need curing! There are many diseases out there that are curable that afflict people without warning, without cause, without cupability. Why should we fund AIDS/HIV research before the thousands of unchecked "innocent victims" diseases?

And where are the individuals? There are millions of AID/HIV positive people in this country. Why aren't we asking them directly to fund research into life saving treatments? Again, it is nearly 100% preventable, why should we pretend it's not?

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767853)

At this point in time, over 99% of all American AIDS/HIV cases are contracted from unsafe sex or intravenous drug use. That's the bottom line.

Assuming your statistics are correct, what is your point? That people who make one mistake, or even whose entire life is completely screwed up, "deserve" getting AIDS?

Sure, that is one way of thinking. It's a way of thinking as old as human-kind. Two thousand years ago, the story of Mary Magdalen was about that. It's a view, however, that lacks compassion and humanity.

The kind of utilitarian calculus of responsibility you engage in is chillingly cold and inhumane: "how much is this life worth, how much did this person know, what percentage of responsibility should he/she accept"? That's the kind of thinking that leads to death camps.

And, even in a purely utilitarian sense, before you know it, it may end up being applied to you. I mean, assuming you drive a car to work, why should I pay for your risky choice of mode of transportation? If you eat meat or drink sodas, why should I pay for your risky nutritional preferences?

how far should government go to protect these people from themselves?

Who said anything about "protecting people from themselves"? Several hundred thousand people in the US are sick and dying from HIV/AIDS, and we should help them with compassion and humanity. One way we help the sick in modern societies is through medical research. The annual cost to you and me is about the same as a couple of Espressos at Starbucks. Sure, these people may be fully responsible for what they did, but you don't even have that much compassion for them in you?

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5769912)

And, even in a purely utilitarian sense, before you know it, it may end up being applied to you. I mean, assuming you drive a car to work, why should I pay for your risky choice of mode of transportation? If you eat meat or drink sodas, why should I pay for your risky nutritional preferences?
Interesting points. I don't think you should. I think I should be on the hook for my own medical care. I think I should be on the hook for the cost of roads, the cost of my car, the cost of my own funeral if I kill myself/others in a car crash - as well as the cost of the obviously failed rescue attempts/incidental costs.

Sure, these people may be fully responsible for what they did, but you don't even have that much compassion for them in you?
My question is: how much compassion should we allocate to a stupid person?

For example, people who climb Mount McKinley in Alaska. How much money should be spent to rescue these people when they inevitably get trapped/in serious trouble? $1Million? $10Million? $100Million? Seriously. How much should society spend to protect a determined individual from killing themselves? It sounds cold but we MUST answer the question. Especially when we have finite resources.. should we spend that $10M to rescue a frivoulous mountain climber or instead send that $10M to offset the cost of life-saving treatment for disease ridden? How is it showing compassion to lavish 100's the resources on the frivoulous and thereby deny that same compassion to a much more deserving individual?

This is a serious topic. I'd like to see every person have every physical need and want fullfilled. But frankly, the way things are, it's not now possible. So how does society dole out charity, goodwill, and compassion?

Right now, it's based on popularity and graft. Breast cancer has been the "big cancer" for the last few decades, thanks to hardwork by individuals across the country. But does it make sense? The number of people afflicted by breast cancer is a fraction of cancers - prostate, lukemia, etc yet it gets a huge percent greater research funding.

So the question stands - how do we apportion what we have in terms of compassion to those who need it? My proposition is that we make a total dedicated effort for real education for all citizens, and then cut off financial support for truly preventable diseases: you get AIDS that's your business, good luck with it. There is no way to justify spending anything on a disease that is obtained only (except those few tiny rare cases, literally probably under 100 a year) through frivulous behavior. In the end, propping these people up with benefit concerts, outreach, ribbons and paper-thin "support" only serves to reduce a critically *life-saving* stigma. Today it is trendy to "remove social stigma" - but in fact stigma is something that beyond a reasonable doubt saves lives. If every HIV+ person was sufficently stigmatized that they decided against unsafe sex HIV/AIDs would die off in a generation, and millions if not billions of lives would be saved.

Compassion is sometimes a trap-door that will lead only to crushing disappointment, crushing suffering, and in the case of AIDs patients agonizing death.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5779266)

It sounds cold but we MUST answer the question. Especially when we have finite resources..

That argument doesn't hold water because we have not even come anywhere near reaching the limit of our "finite resources". Our tax rates are among the lowest in the industrialized world, so the tradeoff isn't between spending and additional $1 billion on heart disease or spending an additional $1 billion on AIDS, the tradeoff is between spending an additional $1 billion on AIDS vs. buying (on average) an Espresso for every American. The reason why we aren't spending more on research is because the American voter wants money to buy SUVs, gargantuan homes, and lots of other trinkets.

Furthermore, we spend almost twice as much per capita on health care ($4500) than other modern nations with medical outcomes that are no better; if we can afford to waste $600 billion in medical spending per year without bothering to fix it, arguments that a billion or two are too much to spend on a disease that affects millions of Americans seem silly.

But your whole premise is wrong anyway: diseases aren't compartementalized, and $1 of spending on a disease doesn't get you $1 of cure for that disease. AIDS simply happens to be the "hot disease" for research right now: it has public exposure, it touches many interesting areas of medicine, it is just within the reach of current biology and medicine, and it comes with a ready supply of volunteer patients. I think it's unlikely we will ever find a cure for AIDS, but I also think that AIDS is one of the best areas to finance if we are interested in advancing the state of medicine.

For example, people who climb Mount McKinley in Alaska. How much money should be spent to rescue these people when they inevitably get trapped/in serious trouble? $1Million? $10Million? $100Million? Seriously. How much should society spend to protect a determined individual from killing themselves?

I guarantee you, the money that is being spent on such rescues is already many times more than we spend on AIDS research per infected American. So, why don't you pick that as your first battle, as opposed to picking on AIDS research?

If every HIV+ person was sufficently stigmatized that they decided against unsafe sex HIV/AIDs would die off in a generation, and millions if not billions of lives would be saved.

By your reasoning, why not put HIV-infected individuals into concentration camps and gas them? The disease would be gone instantly. You see, once you start that kind of approach to organizing societies, you are pretty much on a one-way street to totalitarianism and death camps. The US and Europe, rightly, criticized China and Cuba sharply for trying to ostracize HIV-positive individuals.

There is no way to justify spending anything on a disease that is obtained only (except those few tiny rare cases, literally probably under 100 a year) through frivulous behavior.

You are so out of touch with human realities. Rape alone accounts for many orders of magnitude more HIV infections than that.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#5781108)

By your reasoning, why not put HIV-infected individuals into concentration camps and gas them? The disease would be gone instantly. You see, once you start that kind of approach to organizing societies, you are pretty much on a one-way street to totalitarianism and death camps. The US and Europe, rightly, criticized China and Cuba sharply for trying to ostracize HIV-positive individuals.
Putting individuals into concentration camps would be murder and genocide. That's wrong. What I am talking about is taking away the "it's okay and cool to have unprotected anonymous sex all you want" mentality. That's all.

That argument doesn't hold water because we have not even come anywhere near reaching the limit of our "finite resources". Our tax rates are among the lowest in the industrialized world, so the tradeoff isn't between spending and additional $1 billion on heart disease or spending an additional $1 billion on AIDS, the tradeoff is between spending an additional $1 billion on AIDS vs. buying (on average) an Espresso for every American. The reason why we aren't spending more on research is because the American voter wants money to buy SUVs, gargantuan homes, and lots of other trinkets.
I agree we do not spend enough on research. But no matter what the number there still is a finite point where we must choose. Just because it is far away doesn't mean we shouldn't think about the answer.

You are so out of touch with human realities. Rape alone accounts for many orders of magnitude more HIV infections than that.
If you exclude the prison population (prison rape is a serious issue which does need to be addressed, but just not in the same way as the general population) there are not 10,000 HIV infections from rape each year. That is simply way to high (let alone *many* orders of magnitudes more). There are approximately 300,000 rapes or attempted rapes in the US each year. Of those, 75% or so are "attempted" rape, ie, the act is thwarted before sexual contact. That means there are about 75,000 rapes in this country. It is simply not statistically likely that 1 in 8 of those rapes are comitted by an HIV positive person, with 100% of those victims becoming infected. But the numbers are unimportant in a larger sense. I've already told you we should do everything we can to help innocent victims of AIDS.

I guarantee you, the money that is being spent on such rescues is already many times more than we spend on AIDS research per infected American. So, why don't you pick that as your first battle, as opposed to picking on AIDS research?
I've done that before in other circumstances. It is my opinion that we should not spend anything to prevent an informed individual from killing themselves. Spend whatever it takes to inform and educate people - at schools, via the media, via outreach programs - do whatever it takes so that we can say with 100% certainity that every American of sexual age knows that unprotected sex can lead to HIV. Let every American know that consuming thousands of empty calories on junk food can lead to obesity and premature death. Give them the information, and let them live with their choices.

HIV gets all the attention it gets because quite frankly its trendy. Its the trendy disease. Rich celebrities get, protected minorities get it, and theres a lot of money involved if it gets cured or treated. I agree that medical research isn't linear. But do not get distracted by the fact that we are trying to cure a viral disease. Remember that medicine so far has virtually no useful "across the board" treatments for viral infections. There is no standard playbook. And what works for one virus doesn't work for another. This is why despite ungodly sums of money spent over the decades the "common cold" isn't going to be eliminated anytime soon.

HIV/AIDS will likely never be "cured", as you mention. What has happened is that it has converted from being a guaranteed short-term death sentence to a "livable" disease. The result is *more* infection. The result is that people are casual about it.

That's what compassion has gotten us. It has gotten us a population of young people are not careful, who show no regard for the risks or costs of the disease.

That's insane, and it's wrong. It is a travesty. These people are all going to die from this illness, some sooner than others. And along the way they are going to take others with them. Well I am telling you that what they are doing is criminal. If you infect another person with HIV then you are a killer. Both you and the victim (consensual sex, of course) should be charged as criminals: the infector for manslaughter and the infectee for suicide.

Society constantly spending money, dedicating medical resources, and throwing goodwill on a problem that shouldn't be a problem is very wasteful. More than that, it's immoral. It depreives others who are in dire need of those resources.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5769614)

You completely missed the point. AIDs will go away if everyone stopped doing the things that caused them. For example, if you wait to have sex with whomever you marry, and your partner does the same while not doing drugs, then you will not get AIDs (except in those rare instance where it's transmitted by accident).

Why Education is Key (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771341)

In America, we know that HIV causes AIDS and HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex, needles exchange, and blood transfusions (though extremely rarely nowadays, one would hope.) But what about the President of Congo, who declared that HIV didn't cause AIDS? He claimed that it was a scam by evil Americans to overcharge for AIDS drugs. Or when women can't use condoms because that is a sign they are unfaithful--when the men sleep around as a sign of virility? Education will avail them to the risk that they are taking. Research into social implications may help, since teens may think, for example, that nothing will kill them. (The so-called, "She's hot and wants to sleep with me after the first date, she must not have AIDS" syndrome.)

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

bigmattana (646048) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771681)

Now I'm confused. First you say "a large chuck of Aids funding goes toward education", but then you say "You are pitting logic against the raging hormones of hundreds of millions of teenagers? " in response to "If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away".

So if you are for funding so that we can have better education, then you must think education will actually help, but this contradicts the idea that kids are going to do things that put them at risk regardless of whether or not those things could end up killing them.

Not all countries have, but I think that the US has reached a point where the only people who are going to get AIDS are the ones who are willing to participate in risky behavior knowing full well of the possible consequences, and these people's children. You either have self-control or you do not. Research can help, but the main thing now is spreading the knowledge we already have around the world.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765651)

I agree with people knowing the risks. If you care about yourself and your future, you won't sit around waiting to be educated (and ignoring what you are told anyway), you find out the risks on your own. And once you know the risks, its your choice whether you still have sex (or whatever).

Really now, how many people these days DON'T know about HIV at all? I can't believe its that many.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Funny)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 11 years ago | (#5765949)

If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away.
Yet those pesky blood transfusions continue to occur.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5766904)

Thinking that you're safe from AIDS because you don't have sex with prostitutes is not only denagerously wrong, it borders on self-righteous arrogance.

A famous one-liner for those who can't form an argument is "any (creature) understands there are consequences of actions." Of course. But understanding exactly what the consequences are of what actions is the summary of our entire human intellect is for. We aren't precognitive. You could have sex with fifty prostitutes and be fine, or you could be a highschool junior who has sex with a classmate and now you're both infected. Who knows whether the infection started at a prostitute or homosexual at some point down the line... But what really puts you at risk is the frequency with which you have sex with different partners, not whether you were paid to have sex or your sexual orientation.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (3, Interesting)

peachpuff (638856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767931)

That was totally outrageous.

The reason the government doesn't like phrases like "sex workers", "anal sex" and "men who sleep with men" is because they indicate that AIDS discriminates, which is not what the government would like you to believe.

No, the government thinks those phrases look bad on a list of official government-funded projects. That's the obvious explanation, but I guess it doesn't play into your political view of the issue.

If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away.

Yes, but what are the things that spread AIDS? Other posters have pointed out that blood transfusions and childbirth spread AIDS. It's also spread by sex. That includes non-anal heterosexual sex with a non-prostitute. If you're married and have 2.5 kids, you've done something that spreads AIDS. There are wives who have gotten AIDS from their husband and children who have gotten it from their mother. I'm sure they'd love to hear a little sermon from you about personal responsibility.

Of course, some activities are riskier than others, but we could never starve the disease of victims without killing off the human race.

Consequently, politicians and activist groups would lose a manipulation tool to siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

You've just accused a whole lot of people of hiding the facts on a fatal disease in exchange for money. Why don't you type "AIDS" into Google and see what these people are [unaids.org] actually [cdc.gov] saying [aids.org] ?

Since you're a fan of common sense, consider this: If the government wanted to hide the fact that certain groups are at higher risk, they would reject requests to study those groups, regardless of the wording.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (1)

Larthallor (623891) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771105)


to siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

You mean like heart disease?

You like Big Macs? You accept the risk of clogged arteries.

Oh. I guess not.

American Heart Association, you can close up shop now that Alethes has found the answer to heart disease: stop eating stuff that causes heart disease.

If I were to beat you every time you drank a Coke instead of a Pepsi, would you conclude that your only choice was to either drink the Pepsi or accept the risk of a beating? Yes, you would have to, so long as I can beat you. But while you may find it prudent to reduce the amount of Coke you drink while still susceptable to my fists, I would hope that you would be working feverishly on the side to reduce the risk of the beatings you were getting for drinking Coke by preventing me from beating you.

Similarly, even if you found Coke to be distasteful and it was a friend of yours I was beating rather than you, would you advise your friend to either drink Pepsi like a real man or accept the risk of a brutal beating? I mean, after all, all he had to do was stop that nasty habit of drinking Coca-Cola. But no, your friend just has to be a rebel and drink what he likes. In a way, he's kind of asking for a beating, don't you think?

No? You would try to find a way to help your friend reduce the risk of getting beat?

Even if you had to pay more in taxes? No, I didn't think so.

Re:Why the Government Dislikes Those Phrases (2, Insightful)

Some Dumbass... (192298) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771796)

The reason the government doesn't like phrases like "sex workers", "anal sex" and "men who sleep with men" is because they indicate that AIDS discriminates, which is not what the government would like you to believe. If people stopped doing the things that spread AIDS (it's not exactly airborne), it would eventually go away. Consequently, politicians and activist groups would lose a manipulation tool to siphon tax dollars away from issues that are a lot less preventable and affect more people.

First of all, while it is true that anyone can get AIDS, that doesn't mean that every person is equally likely to get it. As with anything else, some groups are more likely than others (it's called being an "at risk" group). Amazingly, money and effort tend to focus on those people who are in the greatest danger (spending the most money on help for those who need the most help... what a concept!)

Second, one thing which nobody here seems to realize is that if you look at too large of a population all at once, then demographic variables tend to become a problem (they become "nusiance" variables). In general, individuals who participate in research studies are assigned to groups (e.g. HIV+ vs. HIV-, male vs. female, or randomly assigned treatment conditions). Demographic variables such as age are generally controlled between groups as best possible. However, if you study "everybody", then there may be a huge number of variables which potentially need to be controlled. In the case of an AIDS study, sexual preference, age, gender, education, drug use history, geographic location (for many large studies), and even ethnicity may all influence an individual's data. Thus it is often a good idea to work with a subgroup of the population, if only to eliminate as many potential confounds as possible! If you can work with an "at risk" subgroup, even better.

So instead (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5765851)

of giving money to find a cure your going to withhold it because of some offensive to some people words?

Yup (1)

knowledgepeacewi (523787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771112)

Thats the fickle way of the world.

No one ever told you it was fair.

when health topics become political... (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 11 years ago | (#5767575)

...please coat yourself in latex.

Re:when health topics become political... (1)

knowledgepeacewi (523787) | more than 11 years ago | (#5771124)

for I in 1 2 3 4 5
do
latex coat_yourself.tex
done

no prob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5770830)

Just be honest when applying for grants and use terms like "hoes", "faggots", "fudge packers", and "drug addicts".

You won't have any problems then.
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