This unit on HIV has been the most interesting and most disturbing
unit for me thus far. As of 2003, more than 65 million people were
infected with HIV worldwide and of those more than 25 million were in
sub-Saharan Africa alone. This is totally unacceptable. We know how
HIV infects cells. We know how to prevent the spread of HIV. What we
are lacking in is a global effort to stop the spread of this disease.
Since new infections have gone down in the U.S., I think there is a
sense of complacency that the epidemic is under control here and that it
is not a top priority anymore. With the war in Iraq and other issues
like global warming all over the news, we are forgetting that more than
8,000 people die each day from AIDS. I think we need to pressure our
government, particularly on a national level to do more to educate and
provide resources to developing countries, particularly in Africa.
There are simple behavior modifications that could easily be undertaken
and that would turn the tide against this disease. If Africans, the
women in particular, are empowered to protect their health and the
health of their children, then they will be better able to deal with
political issues, build infrastructure, and strengthen the economy
because health care issues will not be such a problem.
Simple steps such as the distribution of condoms and microbicidal
jellies and education about abstinence and not having multiple sex
partners would go al ong way in preventing the spread of HIV. Even just
getting groups like the Peace Corps safely into many of the countries
and allowing the volunteers to teach safe and healthy practices would do
a lot of good. The United States as a global leader should do more to
enhance this initiative. If we are concerned about the freedom and
democracy of all people across the globe, then we must first consider
their health. Freedom will do nothing for them if they are not around
to enjoy it.
In addition, I do not think that it is ethical to do clinical
trials on people in developing countries unless they are highly educated
as to the potential risks and benefits. For example, it does not seem
right that a person with HIV could be in a placebo group and receive no
treatment to prevent the onset of illness unless that person is
completely aware that he/she may receive no real drugs and end up dying
as a result. Even one life is a high price to pay for the advancement
of medical research. What do you think?
What is your opinion on the matter?
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Sent: Wed 1/24/2007 12:00 PM
Subject: Channel-talkbio Digest, Vol 5, Issue 9
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Received on Thu Feb 8 16:16:33 2007