Clueless White Woman

July 31, 2008

the dog ate my HIV statistics?

Filed under: cluelessness,international — by clueless @ 4:40 am
Tags: ,

In one of those weird coincidences, my RSS reading for the evening turned up two AIDS-related blog posts:

A positive (1) HIV Treatment Extends Life Expectancy — a scientific study has proven the efficacy of anti-retroviral drugs, another strong argument against HIV denialists (beetroot? BEETROOT?!? I will never stop shaking my head over that)

And a depressing (2) via Anxious Black WomanU.S. Blacks, if a Nation, Would Rank High on AIDS. Quoting from this NY Times article, emphasis mine…

If black America were a country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people living with the AIDS virus, the Black AIDS Institute, an advocacy group, reported Tuesday….

Nearly 600,000 African-Americans are living with H.I.V… up to 30,000 are becoming infected each year. When adjusted for age, their death rate is two and a half times that of infected whites, the report said. Partly as a result, the hypothetical nation of black America would rank below 104 other countries in life expectancy.

In a separate report on Tuesday, the United Nations painted a somewhat more optimistic picture of the worldwide AIDS epidemic, noting that fewer people are dying of the disease since its peak in the late 1990s and that more people are receiving antiretroviral drugs….

The Black AIDS Institute… said that more black Americans were living with the AIDS virus than the infected populations in… 7 of the 15 countries that receive support from the [Bush] administration’s anti-AIDS program.

The international effort is guided by a strategic plan, clear benchmarks like the prevention of seven million H.I.V. infections by 2010 and annual progress reports to Congress… “America itself has no strategic plan to combat its own epidemic.”

Why is that? I really don’t get the logic. Is there logic there, even weird logic that I might be able to rationally consider and discuss and rebut? It’s just fucking wrong!

What’s weird/creepy in the story — yes, it isn’t just sad — is this:

The group also chided the government for not reporting H.I.V. statistics to the United Nations for inclusion in its biannual report.

Dr. Fenton said the C.D.C. had ensured that its data were forwarded to officials in the Department of Health and Human Services and was investigating why the data were not in the United Nations report.

Others speaking for the agency said the answer would have to come from the State Department, which did not respond to an inquiry.

CDC sent statistics to HHS, who didn’t send it to the UN, and HHS says the State Department can explain all this, but they won’t. WHAT THE FUCK? We’re supposed to be leading the free world, and we can’t file paperwork properly?

Aren’t we always told it’s pure evil when a country doesn’t provide clear, honest information about problems? Don’t we always hear about how China or some other regime we dislike is supressing true statistics of HIV infection?

So are we incompetent, or are we trying to hide information? (They seem about equally plausible, don’t they?)

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