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1 Million HIV Cases
June 13, 2005 3:22 PM   Subscribe

For the first time since the 1980s, the CDC estimates that there are more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. [MSNBC link, but the article is actually good.] This is good news and bad, it means more people are living with the disease with the help of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), of which there are just over 20 drugs in 4 different classes. The CDC has recently launched a new prevention initiative targeted at people with the disease, rather than at convincing HIV- people to avoid contracting it. Central to the new effort are increased HIV surveillance methods, which basically boil down to increased testing (in the case of pregnant mothers, testing they would have to opt out of) and reporting of HIV positive testees. This despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence that HIV discrimination is alive and well.
The other discouraging news is that despite the success of HAART for controlling HIV, the adverse effects are significant, including much higher rates of heart attack and cardiac disease, increased incidence of diabetes and insulin resistance, lipodystrophy and very noticeable changes to how people look, lactic acidosis, as well as the more standard (and less toxic) problems of nausea and diarrhea. Up to 50% of people on HAART will experience these problems.
posted by OmieWise (80 comments total)

 
The CDC are full of nonsense. HIV as the cause of AIDS is the product of a media campaign, not of science. It fails to meet any of Koch's Postulates which establish "the specificity of a pathogenic microorganism."

Furthermore, antiretrovirals do not create health. They destroy it.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2005


Huh?
posted by selfmedicating at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2005


Thanks for the back-up links to the story.

This is good news and bad
I took me a second to let that concept sink in based on the headline.

“We’re debating too much what to do and are not doing enough”
It seems like even the debates have gotten quieter lately. I think a lot of people think that we beat HIV once they stopped hearing the full media coverage about it.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:04 PM on June 13, 2005


Which, of course, explains why nobody with HIV gets AIDS, why everyone who has AIDS is HIV-positive...

I am sick to fucking death of you fucking morons and your fucking brainless "HIV does not cause AIDS" bullshit. That claim is based on bad science, and (if memory serves) falsified and/or improperly verified data. The vast majority--in fact, one hundred percent--of the good science in the field holds up the theory that HIV causes AIDS. End of fucking story, take your revisionism elsewhere. Your attitude causes more death, not less. Gullible people hear "HIV doesn't cause AIDS", stop using condoms... and guess what? They become HIV-positive, and later develop AIDS.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:06 PM on June 13, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy, the tone of your response suggests that you wish to bash your idea of the truth into people's heads, rather than discuss the issue.

can you please tell me, what are the symptoms of AIDS?

and where you got your claim that "everyone who has AIDS is HIV-positive..."?

the "bad science" you mentioned--can you back it up with information?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2005


Please avoid the troll.

That said, in a way it is a success that people are living long enough to be part of the statistics... unfortunately we still have yet to find a cure. Have all of the "AIDS vaccines" flamed-out?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2005


Of course a retrovirus, or almost any other virus, cannot meet Koch's postulates. Viruses require living cells to reproduce, and can therefore never be grown in isolation on artificial medium.

Koch's postulates are outdated anyway. Many pathogens violate some or all of them; look at West Nile virus, which makes some people deathly ill and gives some people a mild cold (violating #3), diseases like Strep infection that can cause problems that show up long after the pathogen has been eradicated (violating #4), and diseases that make people with compromised immune systems sick but exist in normal people without causing harm (violating #1).
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:27 PM on June 13, 2005




Excuse me, thedevildancedlightly, i didn't realise that questioning media authority was worthy of the "troll" moniker.

Instead of allowing yourself to be blindly tugged along by news media like a netted tuna, you would care to proffer something useful to quell my dissenting "attitude". I would like to know that i have misunderstood the situation.

Now i will check skoosh's links.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:33 PM on June 13, 2005


Fact-checking the nih materials will take time, but extracting one of the Koch's Postulates claims:

With regard to postulate #1, numerous studies from around the world show that virtually all AIDS patients are HIV-seropositive; that is they carry antibodies that indicate HIV infection.

Off-hand, "AIDS patients" are people who have been already diagnosed as HIV-seropositive.

Postulate 3

The evidence used to support this can only be evaluated in the light of the drug treatments administered, since treatments are contended to be fatal.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:43 PM on June 13, 2005


dude, take your meds. and don't let the door smack you in the ass on your way to Neptune.
posted by docpops at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2005


in re Postulate 3: In other words, in the case of presumed transmission of virus, what treatments were given to the infected people? If they developed immunodeficiencies, was this the basis of their etiology?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:56 PM on June 13, 2005


gorgor,

besides being impressionable could you tell us some more about your point of reference? Have you had firsthand experience with AIDS or its treatment? Do you think there is really an ulterior motive at work in all of this? I was just thinking it would be great to have the perspectives of MF members without the taint of your flat-earth ramblings dripping in from all sides, but that maybe there's a kernal of rationality to your writing.

Or is this Quonsar's sockpuppet talking?
posted by docpops at 5:00 PM on June 13, 2005


Actually docpops, you're right. I can't fight the NIH alone...At least not in a room crowded with uncritical ad hominems. I understand why you're unwilling to question what you've been taught, and I don't blame you. So i withdraw my comments.

I have not had first-hand experience with AIDS, but for me the burden of proof lies with the NIH who created this phenomenon. I have not encountered that proof, and I find it disturbing that everyone thinks that they have.

AIDS treatments are treatments because the mechanism of action of HIV is not understood. To me, that goes a long way to disproving the causality.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:04 PM on June 13, 2005


Bizarre tangent on an interesting post. Thanks OmieWise; I wish we could have a discussion about the matter at hand. As a quick response to gorgor: If you want answers to your questions, get to a university library and find the primary sources for that NIH page. It's all there. I'd rather we didn't waste effort on your nonsense.

docpops writes "Do you think there is really an ulterior motive at work in all of this? "

I'm sure it's the drug companies. Possibly in league with the CIA.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:05 PM on June 13, 2005


(*i should say the supposed mechanism)
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:07 PM on June 13, 2005


thedevildancedlightly writes "unfortunately we still have yet to find a cure. Have all of the 'AIDS vaccines' flamed-out?"

Vaccines and cures are, of course, different things. There are various vaccine efforts going on around the world, the hunt is still on for a vaccine.

A cure is now thought to be significantly more difficult to produce than previously. The reason is as follows: HAART meds actually do a great job of killing HIV, virtually eliminating it from the body of someone who does a good job of taking the meds as prescribed. So, the thought was that that was a direction to explore for a cure. However, it turns out that the body archives HIV virus in dormant CD4 cells which have been produced to combat other illnesses. Those cells are archived, and live a very long time, so that the body can respond to similar infections in the future. Unfortunately sometimes these cells are made dormant with HIV inside. When the cells come out of dormancy they bring the HIV with them. This is a problem that needs to be solved before a cure can constructed. People don't seem too optimistic about it.
posted by OmieWise at 5:08 PM on June 13, 2005


mr_roboto: If the primary sources prove deficient, may i create a post demonstrating how so, without it being de facto treated (by you) as nonsense?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:12 PM on June 13, 2005


gorgor_balabala writes "AIDS treatments are treatments because the mechanism of action of HIV is not understood."

Holy fucking shit, man. That's just too much. Too much. More is understood about the molecular and cellular mechanism of HIV than about possibly any other infectious agent.

Here's a flash animation that a lay person should be able to understand. Here's a more detailed explanation with (about 100) references. The complete literature would fill volumes. Possibly rooms.

I understand why you're unwilling to question what you've been taught, and I don't blame you.

Uh-huh. You're such a rebel, man, going against the conspiracy of formal education. Yeah, who the fuck needs formal education. I'm sure docpops didn't learn anything useful in medical school, and my Ph.D. program was just six years of brainwashing.

How about this: next time you or someone you love is diagnosed with a deadly disease, have someone who "questions what they've been taught" go ahead and try to treat it. I'm sure that'll turn out great.


gorgor_balabala writes "If the primary sources prove deficient, may i create a post demonstrating how so, without it being de facto treated (by you) as nonsense?"

Go nuts, man. Though I doubt you have the laboratory resources necessary to replicate all of those experiments, if you could prove them unrepeatable, you wouldn't just have a Metafilter post: they'd give you a whole issue of Nature. See you in the funny pages....
posted by mr_roboto at 5:24 PM on June 13, 2005


One does not need laboratory resources to refute a causal presumption. Science is not based on equipment, but on the logical interpretation of information.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:30 PM on June 13, 2005


The available medicines are still too toxic for many, and too expensive for most of the world. Abstinence-only education and restrictive funding ensures that many will continue to contract HIV for years and years to come.

While i'm happy that i don't bury my friends any more the way i did, there's way way way not enough being done to educate everyone honestly and practically, and this administration isn't even trying. And while i used to have hope--i now wouldn't hold my breath for a vaccine or cure--ever.
posted by amberglow at 5:36 PM on June 13, 2005


AIDS treatments are treatments because the mechanism of action of HIV is not understood. To me, that goes a long way to disproving the causality.

HIVs not understood? News to my biochem department. Do you know what AIDS even is or how someone is diagnosed with AIDS? HIV causes a drop in T cells and someone is considered to have AIDS below a certain threshold of T cells. AIDS itself I guess could be considered irrelevant as it is HIV which causes all the problems; AIDS is simply a manifestation of that.
On Preview, word to mr_roboto. One of the main problems with HIV is that in an ironic twist of evolutionary fate, it is HIV's shitty replication material that causes so much problems. We have meds to do a helluva lot about HIV, but a big problem is the mutation rate is extraordinarily high during replication creating a population of HIV which our drugs can target. Blah, I could go on longer but I need a drink now.

On preview:
Science is not based on equipment, but on the logical interpretation of information.
/me scratches head
Where, exactly, are you going to get this information without equipment?

Science is not based on equipment, but on the logical interpretation of information.
Funny, I hear that same argument from Creationists.
posted by jmd82 at 5:38 PM on June 13, 2005


And while i used to have hope--i now wouldn't hold my breath for a vaccine or cure--ever.
Sorry to continue on, but I would argue that the finding a vaccine is irrelevant to your current problems with AIDs. While I don't disagree that not enough is being done about the spread of AIDs, finding the cure does not correlate with that for one simple reason: money...money is in it for science labs to try to find a cure for AIDs. Where there's grant money and patents to be found, labs out there are going to be doing research. Just like the rest of the world, I find more and more that money rules the world of research just like anything else.
posted by jmd82 at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2005


Hmmm. I was taught that science was based on evidence, and that evidence was gathered via the methods of experimentation and testing to prove or disprove hypotheses. Tell me gorgor, what evidence do you have that would support your hypothesis that HIV does not cause AIDS, other than a disbelief and what seems to be a rather poor interpretation of other people's work?

On preview: word, jmd82. In fact, Phillip Johnson (the creationist, not the architect) is a well known HIV denier.
posted by ltracey at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2005


Correct me if I am wrong, but was the Theory of Evolution was predicated on laboratory experiments? Last time I checked, it was the result of direct observation.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2005


was predicated
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:45 PM on June 13, 2005


amberglow writes "The available medicines are still too toxic for many, and too expensive for most of the world."

As I see it, expense isn't the primary barrier to the use of HAART in the developing world. Even if the drugs could be produced and distributed cheaply, compliance is difficult. For someone with a scheduled, comfortable, developed-world lifestyle, it's possible to comply with the stringent requirements of antiviral therapy. For someone who's living day-to-day, trapped in a pattern of migratory employment, and with possibly limited education and literacy, it might be impossible.

Of course, economic development is the ultimate solution. Given the limitations of the real world, though, there's a real need for simpler therapies. It seems much progress can be made in this direction, even without a true "cure".
posted by mr_roboto at 5:55 PM on June 13, 2005


gorgor_balabala writes "One does not need laboratory resources to refute a causal presumption."

Seriously, do you think everybody else is just stupid, and hasn't been able to figure it out? It must feel so special to be you.

I know I should stop; I'm kinda pissed off, though. Serenity now!
posted by mr_roboto at 5:59 PM on June 13, 2005


"As I see it, expense isn't the primary barrier to the use of HAART in the developing world. Even if the drugs could be produced and distributed cheaply, compliance is difficult. For someone with a scheduled, comfortable, developed-world lifestyle, it's possible to comply with the stringent requirements of antiviral therapy. For someone who's living day-to-day, trapped in a pattern of migratory employment, and with possibly limited education and literacy, it might be impossible."

I think you're right about that. Expense is a big problem but by far not the only one.
posted by OmieWise at 6:00 PM on June 13, 2005


$$$
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:04 PM on June 13, 2005


They've developed a whole bunch of one-a-day and three-a-day pills now--the ads for them are all over the gay press. The regimen for taking those is certainly in reach of everyone, migratory or not, illiterate or not.
posted by amberglow at 6:20 PM on June 13, 2005


gorgor_balabala, are you contending that HIV has nothing to do with AIDS? That AIDS is made up? Or that HIV requires co-factors to manifest AIDS?

Why do you think the scientific establishment would be so hostile to anti-HIV theories that they would uphold bad science rather than give credence to anti-HIV theories?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:25 PM on June 13, 2005


cofactors:
$$$
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:27 PM on June 13, 2005


There are no HIV theories that I know of. Only hypotheses.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:29 PM on June 13, 2005


amberglow, never underestimate the human capacity for ignorance and error. From my medical-outsider perspective, most patient compliance seems to be very poor when patients are non-symptomatic. Add in nasty side effects to the medication, a poor to middling track record for medicine on the issue, and various bizarre myths about drinking the blood of virgins or infants being a cure, and things could go from bad to worse.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:34 PM on June 13, 2005


what turns a hypothesis into a theory, sciencewise?
posted by amberglow at 6:34 PM on June 13, 2005


Medicines that make people run to the bathroom all day, or that totally take away their strength and appetite are no prize at all. There are people here who can't follow their regimens--does that mean you don't bother?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on June 13, 2005


As a type 1 diabetic, I definitely bother. However, I'm not sure I would find it as easy to comply if I had a disease where the treatment felt worse than the symptoms in the early stages.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:43 PM on June 13, 2005


Gorgor, to more specifically refute your point, I'd drill down to this NIH page, but you could always claim the studies cited were part of a wider conspiracy. I guess it comes down to a matter of faith in the scientific establishment.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2005


I have no faith in a medical establishment that recommends the use of AZT for treating any kind of disease.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:03 PM on June 13, 2005



what turns a hypothesis into a theory, sciencewise?
posted by amberglow at 6:34 PM PST on June 13 [!]


A hypothosis is used in a controled experiment to predict the outcome before it happens.
A theory is made from the hypothesees of many experiments to make more general statements about how the world works.

(At least I think... heh)
posted by Balisong at 7:06 PM on June 13, 2005


gorgor,

I doubt anyone's losing sleep over your lack of faith. There are plenty of naturopaths and chiros out there to fix you if you ever fall seriously ill.
posted by docpops at 7:07 PM on June 13, 2005


thanx doc...if only i were the one who needed it.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:20 PM on June 13, 2005


Interesting assumption, by the way. Doctors are good at those, it seems.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:30 PM on June 13, 2005


Without evidence, gorgor, you are nothing but another tiresome anti-science religionist. Religious about The Conspiracy, religious about The Illuminati, religious about Evil Big Pharma.

Religion is fine when it's applied at a personal level. Feel free to boycott big pharma and support homeopathics. But religion is the shits when it's applied against others. In health care matters, religion kills: no amount of silly faith-based treatment is going to do a good goddamn when a disease gains the upper hand.

But until you come up with actual evidence that HIV and AIDS aren't related, STFU. Keep your religion out of our science.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:50 PM on June 13, 2005


I agreed to a future fpp already. Do you want a cookie as well?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:57 PM on June 13, 2005


And for the record (which no one cares about), it was docpops who brought up homeopathy. I am not a proponent of it.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:59 PM on June 13, 2005


I know someone who threw away all his money on "natural" treatments for AIDS...they didn't work--at all.
posted by amberglow at 8:04 PM on June 13, 2005


People aren't killed byAIDS? It's AZT poisoning? That's odd, because I remember a lot of people died from AIDS long before AZT appeared and that people in third world countries with HIV-AIDS continue to die without any AZT treatment.

Go sell crazy somewhere else. The Duesberg, et al. stuff has been debunked again and again. The magnitude of epidemiologic, clinical, and experimental observations and results argue for a causal role of HIV and AIDS.
posted by Cassford at 8:12 PM on June 13, 2005


jmd82: finding the cure does not correlate with that for one simple reason: money...money is in it for science labs to try to find a cure for AIDs. Where there's grant money and patents to be found, labs out there are going to be doing research. Just like the rest of the world, I find more and more that money rules the world of research just like anything else.

Not to rag on you, but I've never understood this particular avenue of skepticism. Why did we get the Salk vaccine, the smallpox vaccine? Why didn't the medical establishment hold out until they found a more profitable cure? No, I think there are some people, researchers even, who are motivated by the moral desire to prevent harm and help people, and there are often public funds for that (albeit never enough).

BrotherCaine: I guess it comes down to a matter of faith in the scientific establishment.

Oh GOD, don't ever yield that point. It has nothing whatsoever to do with faith in the scientific establishment; the whole POINT of science is that the evidence is all laid out and you don't need to take someone else's word for it. It's true that there are significant obstacles to gaining access to modern scientific equipment to the point where you could verify most relevant experiments, but it's not a matter of faith by any means.
posted by rkent at 8:45 PM on June 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


No, I think there are some people, researchers even, who are motivated by the moral desire to prevent harm and help people, and there are often public funds for that (albeit never enough).

There are indeed some people who act this way. They are, and have always been, in the minority. The history of western civilization, and of western science, is one of individuals and groups putting their own economic self-interest above the public interest. This is a natural human tendency; to assume that it's disappeared is naive in the extreme.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:09 PM on June 13, 2005


and of western science, is one of individuals and groups putting their own economic self-interest above the public interest

The National Institutes of Health and its employees beg to differ. The NIH is the largest funder of medical research in the world ($28.7 billion total budget) and I can personally attest to the fact that everyone there is under-paid compared to what they could get in the private sector. (My experience was mid-90's, but I don't see it having changed since then). The literally thousands of researchers there enjoy what they do and want to make a difference in the world.

And, no, NIH employees cannot do consulting on the side.

money is in it for science labs to try to find a cure for AIDs

The FY 2006 NIH budget has $2.9 billion earmarked for HIV/AIDS research. If that's not "money" then I don't know what is.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:56 PM on June 13, 2005


One virus killing another virus. Until people quit being so fucked up, we'll always have something like this.
posted by gunthersghost at 12:43 AM on June 14, 2005


amberglow-
I'm certainly not suggesting that the world or the US are spending enough money to address the AIDS epidemic. On the other hand, the problems of delivering HAART in the real world go far beyond the cost of the medications. Even when one-a-day or two-a-day treatments are used (as they are with most treatment niave pateints now) it is very hard to take these medications correctly. They're medications that are treating something which may not be giving the patient any immediate symptoms, and yet the medications themselves often cause vomitting etc. The meds need about a 95% adherence rate in order to prevent resistance mutations by the virus, which means that you're already well-below that threshold if you miss one dose of one-a-day or two of two-a-day treatment (both equal about 85% adherence). The worst case scenario is 70-75% adherence, a rate at which the meds exert strong selection pressure but do not kill enough of the virus to prevent significant viral replication.

Which is not to say that it's impossible, or that enough is being done, but is to say that money is needed not simply to buy the medications, but for a whole public health infrastructure which is inadequate or non-existant in many of the places it is most needed.
posted by OmieWise at 4:22 AM on June 14, 2005


If I understand correctly, just pulling together a couple of points introduced above, the great difficulties facing those attempting to produce a vaccine (as well as their pharma-cousins) are the low preservation rates of core viral machinery that the virus uses to infect.
In other words, it is usual to raise a vaccine (with consequent antibodies) against specific viral elements that bestow infectivity (or that are preserved following multiple replications) - those viral parts that allow attachment to a host and insertion of genetic elements. But the mutation rates produce* amazing variety both to these specific infective elements and also other viral components (as I understand it) thus a vaccine will only have mild and shortlasting effects. It seems to be an extraordinary species of life in this regard. (I'm only going on general knowledge without much recent input)
*Darwinistic evolution - by mere chance.

OmieWise, thanks for the thought provoking post. And gorgor_balabala, you are marked as a lunatic for future rememberance.
posted by peacay at 4:41 AM on June 14, 2005


charmed, i'm sure.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:07 AM on June 14, 2005


While i'm happy that i don't bury my friends any more the way i did, there's way way way not enough being done to educate everyone honestly and practically

Education, really? Are there people in the U.S. still unaware that unprotected sex is dangerous? Are there still people contracting HIV who are shocked when they find out the should have worn a condom? Are people sharing dirty needles unaware of the possible consequences? Where do these people live? Honestly, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand how not to become HIV positive.

and this administration isn't even trying. posted by amberglow

You brought it back to dubya, and I for one am shocked. Shocked I tell ya.
posted by justgary at 8:11 AM on June 14, 2005


People.

Ignore the troll.
posted by delmoi at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2005


This New Yorker piece from a few weeks ago is worrisome. . .it suggests that there has been a lot of backsliding within the gay male community pertaining to protected sex (the article suggests that crystal meth has something to do with it).

We have seen lately that the US is not the shining tower of enlightenment, but I would also venture to say that if OUR population has been acting in higher risk ways, then it is less surprising that the epidemic remains unchecked in other parts of the world.

This is not a troll, but I would ask Amberglow and others. . .is it not behavior that is the main determinant of whether one comes down with HIV or not (except of course mother-fetus transmission), and are there not sets of behaviors, either way, that make the difference.

I may be oversimplifying this stuff but I am still baffled by the resurgence in the rates of HIV infection in this country.
posted by Danf at 9:01 AM on June 14, 2005


Education, really? Are there people in the U.S. still unaware that unprotected sex is dangerous? Are there still people contracting HIV who are shocked when they find out the should have worn a condom?

Not sure what you are trying to say here: so we should have less education?

Actually, considering there are people out there who still believe you can't get pregnant if you have sex standing up I don't find it unreasonable to assume that the message on safe-sex does get confused, especially when the US government is placing the emphasis on abstinence-only sex education.
posted by axon at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2005


Upon more thinking, the shock of an increased number of people with HIV seems like a red herring. This is because people can live their entire lives with AIDs and not die (granted it is only a select portion of the population which can afford this, but it exists nonetheless). Also, AIDs as a virus usually takes years to kill a person coupled with the fact AIDs doesn't have a cure plus our increased population and it is no surprise that the rate has increased. If anything, I would be shocked if the AIDs population decreased over the next few years simply on accord of how the virus works.

rkent:
I'm not really sure if I'm so much a skeptic as much as I am jaded. Anyways, basically, in my experience money and grants pretty much rules the world of university research and large amounts of money is in it for AIDs researchers. The simple fact is that if a PI (head of a university lab) can't bring in money, he/she won't have a lab for very long. However, a PIs ability is not necessarily indicative of grant money. Just recently, our university has lost grant money for cancer research not b/c we suck (or so I tell myself), but rather b/c research funding is being cut and 20% of all gov't research money must go towards bioterrorism (which is a whole other topic!!). Instead of head researchers being able to do tons of research, a large portion of that time must be spent procuring grants and making sure you don't loose them.

peacay: as far my my education goes, that's pretty much right.
posted by jmd82 at 9:29 AM on June 14, 2005


Are there still people contracting HIV who are shocked when they find out the should have worn a condom?

Yes. They are kids who took abstinence-based sex education that didn't mention condoms to them. Or they are people who believe what the Catholic church is peddling: that condoms are unreliable as protection against AIDS. There are others as well I am sure, but you get the picture.
posted by beth at 9:37 AM on June 14, 2005


I wondered how long it would take for the educated MeFites to marvel over the fact that there are still plenty of people in the country who never receive decent sex education. I conduct safer sex research at a fairly prestigious university and you would be amazed at how widely the students' sex education varies.
posted by trey at 9:41 AM on June 14, 2005


If people don't follow abstinence-only education, then why does it follow that they're use condoms when taught to use them?
posted by jmd82 at 10:11 AM on June 14, 2005


No, gorgor, the tone of my resposne indicates that I am sick and tired of the irresponsible message that you and your ilk spread.

It's utter nonsense, and shows only that you know absolutely nothing about how HIV works, is transmitted, and how it leads to AIDS. As has been pointed out above, we know more about HIV than just about any other infectious agent in the world. For you to sit there and spout this balderdash would be funny, if it weren't so criminally negligent.

How many funerals have you been to, gorgor? How many friends have you helped to look after while AIDS and medications ravaged their bodies? How many hands have you held after someone walks out of that room with the nurse, with that expression on their face, having been just told they are not only going to die, but they are going to suffer first? I've had to do all of the above, too many times. I can't even begin to imagine how amberglow, who as an adult in the 80's, got through it.

And yes, danf, barebacking is back with a vengeance. Has been for some time. Part of the issue is so-called 'condom fatigue'; gay men are sick of having the message drilled down their throats that they should use condoms. And like the eternal spoiled children that most of them are, the reaction is to not do what mommy and daddy tell them. Personal responsibility is not a virtue that's very highly prized in the gay community, to say the least. That's, like, almost being a grownup.

The other issue, ironically, is the very fact of effective medication. With HIV now being framed as a manageable illness (similar to, say, diabetes), there's less incentive to avoid getting it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:11 AM on June 14, 2005


" If people don't follow abstinence-only education, then why does it follow that they're use condoms when taught to use them?"

I think the idea is that convincing people to give up intercourse is exponentially more difficult (impossible?) than getting them to change a small part of the experience.

Or, in other words: Sooner or later, everybody fucks. It's easier to get them to change how they fuck than to get them to give up (or never start) fucking.
posted by Irontom at 10:36 AM on June 14, 2005


What Irontom said.

And it's not just lack of personal responsibility--many many younger guys had "Just Say No" or "just don't do it" as their main sex education, and have grown up seeing people live with AIDS, not dying from it. It's not seen as a killer anymore. And of course people slip up and backslide--whether it's always wearing a condom, or not ever missing one pill in an HIV regimen--humans aren't perfect, nor should they be expected to be.
And the failure to effectively educate in minority and closeted communities. And the disappearance of baskets of rubbers on every single bar, in every bookstore and bathhouse, etc. Throughout the 80s they were absolutely everywhere, and now it's rare.

I must throw in the utter utter lack of any efforts aimed at those of us who are negative and have remained so--why are we never the focus of anyone's attention, and why aren't we the role models for younger guys, instead of rock-climbing, gym-going, steroid-taking HIV-positive people? And get rid of crystal--it's one of the main things that makes people careless during sex.

We could all go on for days, but a vaccine or a cure is the only thing that will truly end this. That's what i want before i'm too old to even have sex--OK? All that's what all humans on Earth deserve. It's been 24 years since GRID was first identified--and what do we have? Now you don't even hear talk about vaccines and cures anymore--i could cry.
posted by amberglow at 11:00 AM on June 14, 2005


I think the so-called "bug chasers" (people who want to be infected with HIV) show that the disease doesn't carry the fear it once did. People see that they can live with it for years.
posted by agregoli at 11:17 AM on June 14, 2005


amberglow writes "why aren't we the role models for younger guys"
That brings up ideas to me. School talks, respite visits, gay media advertizing, phone-in centres and similar - having members of one's own ostracized community urging safe sex would be a great assistance in attempts to reduce HIV transmission.
But that brings us back to politics and funding to a certain degree. (I find it just ludicrous that availability of condoms has been narrowed)
I guess this 1Million mark ought to be a rally to the 'old faithful' to reinvigorate educative efforts which I presume have been going on in the GLBT community for 20 years. That's likely to have more effect than waiting for the removal from C.Meth from available accessories no?
posted by peacay at 11:22 AM on June 14, 2005


err...ostracized in the sense that...well you know what I mean - should have been italicized.
posted by peacay at 11:28 AM on June 14, 2005


AIDS is a manifestation of mass panic.

AIDs as a virus
And this is the kind of mental rigor that makes it all happen.

dnab, i am not advocating irresponsibility, nor do i mean any disrespect to past victims.

I am merely suggesting that if pulled, that little thread that is hanging down off the HIVAIDS sweater knit over the years might unravel it in a single, tiny yank.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 12:11 PM on June 14, 2005


gorgor, how would go about making a cure, a vaccine, or medicine to treat it?

I don't think people disagree that it's about t-cells, right? I don't think people disagree that it compromises and weakens the immune system, right?
posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on June 14, 2005


oop---how would you go about...
posted by amberglow at 12:29 PM on June 14, 2005


gorgor-
I've resisted addressing your comments in this thread because I not only think they're inane, I think you're a troll. Trolling does not mean that you are advocating unpopular opinions, it means you're advocating opinions without substance. Your most recent comment is a great example of this kind of argument by assertion. If you had any evidence (and your first link was ridiculous, not evidence in any real sense, I mean a peer-reviewed study from somewhere) then you surely would have supplied it by now.

So, I think you're a troll, but I'm just going to give you the benefit of the doubt for a sec and see where that takes us. Your position seems to be that science in general, and HIV scientists specifically, are untrustworthy. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that rejecting the most proven explanation for something is the equvalent of critical thinking. You are wrong. Critical thinking is the examination of evidence with an open mind in order to form a reasoned and logical conclusion. You have not done that, as you've presented no reasons for your opinions.

You also seem unduly hung up on the semantics of HIV and Aids. One can only assume that you're a fool and an uninformed one at that, given the wealth of information on this topic. It's quite simple, really. HIV destroys CD4 cells by replicating within them. CD4 cells fight diseases in the human body (opportunistic infections) which, in the abscence of such cells (which have been killed by HIV), make one ill. This condition constitutes what is termed a syndrome, the aggregate of signs and symptoms associated with any morbid process, which constitute together the picture of a disease. Many scientists refer to this syndrome as Advanced HIV disease in order to help people like you for whom semantics seems to constitute argument. I list this explanation of AIDs here so that you will see that the mechanism is completely described, and frighteningly simple.

So, if you aren't a troll, all of this makes you a fool. Worse, given the stakes of this particular delusion, people's lives, it makes you a dangerous fool. It is some consolation to hope that your idiocy is evident enough that no one would trust you with a position where you might come into contact with others who might be harmed.

Don't bother to act aggrieved, it is you who has failed to present any reason why you should be taken seriously. Your comments have expressed disrespect for people who have died of Aids in the same way that Holocaust deniers express disrespect and anti-Semitism by the schlock they peddle: by denying the cause, you effectively erase the result.

Now fuck off.
posted by OmieWise at 12:37 PM on June 14, 2005


Thanks OmieWise, that was a pleasure to read. I had been trying to resist the temptation.
posted by peacay at 12:58 PM on June 14, 2005


how about you pretend it's a hypothetical--all scientific-like and stuff?
posted by amberglow at 1:02 PM on June 14, 2005


Gorgor, I am sincerely interested to hear of a well-described alternative theory involving HIV and/or AIDS, provided it is based on verifiable fact. Please start listing sources so that we can know just wtf you are talking about, because without more information, you just can not be taken seriously.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2005


Thanks OmieWise for the original link, and the more appropriate response to gorgor than mine (mea maxima culpa).

rkent, it is a matter of faith (or trust) unless you have the ability and motivation to generate similar raw data to that from which the conclusions were derived. Your average tinfoil hat wearer will not have either ability or motivation. I choose to believe the evidence mostly because I disbelieve large conspiracies are possible in an age of scientific openness, and because I believe in a certain minimal level of competence in the field as a whole.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:03 PM on June 14, 2005


dnab, i am not advocating irresponsibility, nor do i mean any disrespect to past victims.

Your unthinking actions, your flying in the face of scientific fact, your utter nonsense--which you have yet, by the by, to provide any credible scientific evidence whatsoever for--those are what promote irresponsibility by implication.

And as has been pointed out above, without Godwinizing the thread, denying that HIV has killed and is killing people is very similar to the disrespect fo Holocaust deniers.

I am merely suggesting that if pulled, that little thread that is hanging down off the HIVAIDS sweater knit over the years might unravel it in a single, tiny yank.

Then enlighten me. Seriously. Give me one solid, credible piece of evidence. Just one, and I will listen to what you say, rather than dismissing you as the wingnut that you so clearly are. You're clearly in possession of facts which the entire HIV research community is not, so I think it behooves you to share them with us. Go on. You can do it. One piece of peer-reviewed good science. One.

Or is your stance, like Creationism/Intelligent Design, merely based on belief and bad science? I suspect this to be the case.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:22 PM on June 14, 2005


danf-thanks for the New Yorker article, I missed it.
posted by OmieWise at 3:43 PM on June 15, 2005


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