Monday, June 06, 2005

AIDs in the news

Being a microbiologist and a scientist in general, I've always been fascinated with HIV. One of the worst diseases that anyone can get; HIV is a death sentence to anyone who gets the virus unless they are able to get a hold of anti-retroviral drugs. Unfortunately, these drugs are only distributed in relatively limited amounts and are only affordable for those in developed countries (generally). The majority of the people who are needing these drugs sadly don't get them. This is partly why I read with no real surprise that the HIV epidemic is still increasing: Action needed to stem AIDS pandemic.

Of the rather depressing report, I think this is one of the things that stood out most to me.

But it is being pressured by conservative religious groups toward abstinence-only programs and away from vulnerable groups like prostitutes, homosexuals and drug addicts.

While I agree that abstinence only campaigns are a method that could be used to stop HIV, it has been demonstrated to be looking through rose coloured glasses at best. When we're talking about a virus that kills several million people every year and is infecting more we should be focusing on the best treatments available, according to the medical establishment and not what peer groups can exert the most pressure. It disappoints me to see America, which was the country to make some of the most key breakthroughs with HIV, give in to individuals who do not have any practical knowledge of the situation and are not recommending the best way to really approach the AIDs epidemic.

Edit: Speaking of sexuality and general retardedness, I also saw this over at tvnz news. Another failure of the NZ education system.