We all have AIDS
June 26, 2001 8:34 AM   Subscribe

We all have AIDS Yet another article on global AIDS, but it includes Nazi's and the holocaust.
The writer suggests that the CEO's of pharmaceutical companies that reduced the price of anti-viral medication should receive a Nobel Prize because they "save the lives of more human beings than died in the Holocaust."
posted by nonharmful (8 comments total)
A somewhat circuitous way of getting to his point. And no, we don't all have AIDS, and most countries did not give a shit about the Nazis and the Jews and willingly gave up their Jews. Denmark, with a small percentage of Jews in a small country is a great exception.
Fact is: it is easy for non-doctors and drug makers to talk about giving away a ziooion bucks worth of medicines but why not have the countries of the world subsidize this?
Oddly, where AIDS is highest, the countries are (education) poorest, so it will be other states who do the financing. But then, no man(or country) is an island entire of itself (Donne).
Wish the writer had simply come out in a straight forward manner and stated this the way the head of the UN did yesterday.
posted by Postroad at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2001

> Now we all have AIDS. No other construction is any
> longer reasonable. The earth has AIDS;

Undeniable, when you look at it this way. But in that case we all also have cancer, heart disease, emphysema, ebola virus, chlamydia, schizophrenia, cat scratch fever, carpal tunnel syndrome, varicose veins, sniffles and bald tires.
posted by jfuller at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2001

AIDS medications don't have to cost a "ziooion bucks", if companies would make their patent public. This type of medication is not intrinsically expensive. When large pharmaceutical companies are spending more on advertising than research, they can afford to allow generic versions.
posted by skyline at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2001

Actually medical patents wear out after x amount of years, I think 10 in the US. Then the generic can be made by a different company. Unfortunately, 10 years is a long time to wait when you're literally dying.

From a 'spaceship earth' perspective we certainly have AIDS and have had it from quite some time, but because of the way it spreads it doesn't affect the power elite of western nations so from the 'economic earth' perspective its no big deal. Once the EU or US reaches African percentages even the Pope will be handing out condoms.

This is the smallpox of my generation and we certainly have the know how and resources to slow its spread but so far there hasn't been a 'smallpox war' on AIDS yet. Maybe because the price for a vaccination is trivial compared to the mess of drugs an HIV+ person must take. Maybe apathy. Who knows.
posted by skallas at 9:36 AM on June 26, 2001

. Maybe because the price for a vaccination is trivial compared to the mess of drugs an HIV+ person must take. Maybe apathy. Who knows.

Cost, apathy, and a little prejudice thrown in.

What a slogan "We All Have AIDS" would make. Buttons with that slogan could be the red lapel-ribbons of the new millenium.
posted by jpoulos at 9:57 AM on June 26, 2001

I think that one of the most important reason that pharmaceutical companies recently changed their "we do not care" mentality is public pressure. A paper such as this forces companies to change their policy on the topic because otherwise 'they were the one that did not prevented the holocaust'.

jpoulos, the "We all have AIDS" button seems like an excellent plan.
posted by nonharmful at 11:22 AM on June 26, 2001

It's not only about patent issues -- it's also about the actual cost of manufacturing protease inhibitors and the like, which is high anyway. Suppose Nike decides to give you, as a gift, the right to use Michael Jordan's name and Air logo on sports apparel. You're home free? No, if you're very poor and you don't have the money to start mass production of sneakers and T-shirts and stuff. It's not only about patents -- low-cost HIV medications in the Third World are already not working well because they're pretty difficult to make.
Another thing: I'm sick and tired of Holocaust analogies. The Holocaust is ONE thing: the destruction of the Jews by the Nazis, in the concentration camps and all over Europe. It's the name of THE one War waged by the Third Reich against the Jews, to try and annihilate every last one of them. Rwanda, Aids, Bosnia, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Khmer Rouge, are different horrors. I'm not saying they're less important or less horrible, God forbid. But any historian (or rabbi) worth his salt will tell you that we must be careful to use the word Holocaust. There are six millions of good reasons to be careful.
posted by matteo at 6:48 PM on June 26, 2001

"...in that case we all also have cancer, heart disease, emphysema, ebola virus, chlamydia, schizophrenia, cat scratch fever, carpal tunnel syndrome, varicose veins, sniffles and bald tires."

Precisely, JFuller! And here I show my Star Trek Geekness:
"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." -- Captain Picard

When someone very close to you is dying, be it from AIDS or cancer or anything, you suffer too. We don't all do this, but every time someone dies of AIDS, be it in another part of the world or at your side, this is how we should feel. It's not how I feel. I cope by being bitter and cynical, and when possible I find humor in the situation. It's how I cope. It's not how we do feel, and were we to mourn each passing soul, we'd never get anything accomplished. So we don't. We move forward. We learn to accept it as a natural part of life and we rationalize ways to continue. To persevere. Be it to honor their memory, or sweep it under the rug. No doubt many of you are gonna disagree with me. Feel free to do so. However, there's one thing that I've said before in this virtual place about which no one has bothered to argue with me. Feel free to do a search. I did. I sound like a broken record, I know.

We are all on this spinning rock in space together. The sooner we all realize that, the better.

I don't like Nazi WW2 analogies either - I find them tiresome, but when some would not drop their cross in favor of the swastika, the third reich had already committed itself to waging war on any individual or group or nation that disagreed. You either agreed or perished. All were going to fall under their knife, had there been no resistance. Not just the jews. Not just the blacks. Not just the gays. Everyone. When even one human being on this planet is denied their inalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness, be it from disease or malnourishment or poverty or political and religious oppression, the chain is forged. It affects the entire human race. Prevention versus treatment? That people even feel it necessary to argue this? It's absurd!

So long as there are people on this planet who place their own inalienable rights above another's, this petty bickering will continue.

"Please continue the petty bickering. I find it.. intriguing." - Data
posted by ZachsMind at 1:24 AM on June 27, 2001

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