"government non response" [on diseases] 
Author Message
 "government non response" [on diseases]


>    Not to be impolite, but could anyone who reads a paper, or thinks
>about Politics at all, possibly be surprised by this.

>    "The sqeaky wheel gets the grease."

>    Sorry for being so trite, but it is true.  People affected by
>Heart Diseases really need to yell louder.
>    BTW, I am one of those people.

>> .
>> > government non-response

>> .

>> from CNN.com

>> AIDS funding outpaces heart disease

>>                   As an example, charts illustrating the report show
>> that in 1996 the NIH spent
>>                   $851.6 million for research on heart disease, a
>> disorder blamed for 732,400
>>                   deaths in 1994. The agency spent $1.4 billion in
>> for research on AIDS, a
>>                   disease that caused 42,100 deaths in 1994. That
>> the agency spent about
>>                   $1,162 in research monies for every heart disease
>> death, versus $33,513 for
>>                   every AIDS death.

>>                   In another measure, the chart shows there were $70
>> billion in direct costs to
>>                   society from heart disease, while there was $10.3
>> billion in direct costs to
>>                   society from AIDS.

>>                   Such data, the report said, adds to the perception
>> the public and in Congress
>>                   that NIH spending "often follows current politics
>> political correctness or
>>                   responds to media attention to certain diseases
>> results in unacceptable
>>                   disparities in spending."


     It's rather hard to compare the two diseases directly.  Direct
costs measure treatment costs, but they don't measure costs to society
from years of productive life lost.  Heart disease, by and large, kills
retired people.  AIDS has killed (on average) men in their thirties at
the height of productive careers.

    The other thing about AIDS to remember is that it killed 1.5
million people last year world wide, and HIV infection is growing
exponentially in the world (though probably not in America).  There are
good reasons for the US to be concerned about having SW Asia, India,
and most of Africa die.  Even if we were completely hard nosed, if that
happens, it WILL hurt our economy a lot worse than the present state of
heart disease does, even if we did NO more resaerch on heart disease.

   Lastly, there are some reasons to do AIDS research that have payoffs
that cannot be promised by atherosclerosis research.  HIV is a very
simple organism, with just 9 genes.  It's DAMNED hard to destroy or
suppress, because it hides so well (in your DNA), and because it has so
few gene sites which are vulnerable.  And thsoe mutates fast.   If we
can learn to deal with HIV, all the lessons learned will be invaluable
when our antibiotics quit working against many major (and more
complicated) pathogens, over the next ten years.  Compared to HIV,
multidrug resistant Staph and TB are really a peices of cake, with
hundreds more vulnerable genes, each of which is just as amenible to
pharmaceutical development as the two genes in HIV which are presently
under active commercial attack (with several others coming down the
pike).  They (the bacteria TB and Staph) simply hasn't been attacked
with the same vigor as HIV, because we still have answers for them.
But there's no reason at all they can't be, once our answers run out.  
Which they will very shortly.

  We've learned more about the immune system in the last 10 years than
in all the previous time before, and most of it is due to AIDS
research.  We'll be very glad we spent the money on AIDS.  Wait and

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

Thu, 28 Dec 2000 03:00:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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