Friday, November 18, 2005

Phantom AIDS Epidemic?

African AIDS: A Phantom Epidemic?
[I]t is possible to suggest not only that the AIDS "epidemic" is vastly overstated and overrated, but also that resources spent fighting it might better be employed on more basic, and more general, infrastructure and health needs. This is not to deny the reality or the tragedy of this disease or the many other diseases rampant in poor parts of Africa. It is to point out that, when medical realities collide with scaremongering and false realities, the latter too often triumph.


Proper diagnosis can require trained medical people, medical history, physical examination, blood tests and sophisticated facilities. [In Africa, diagnoses are made based] on "points" .... Because of this lack, the meeting participants concluded that AIDS in Africa could be diagnosed without a blood test by scoring 12 points out of a possible total of 50, based on symptoms and signs alone.

People having the first three (10 percent weight lost, protracted asthenia [weakness] and repeated attacks of fever for more than a month) have already racked up a score of 11. A cough scores two more points, and "the diagnosis of AIDS is established."

Many other non-specific signs are worth points, such as diarrhea, lung disease, signs consistent with herpes virus infections, generalized lymph node enlargement and "neurological signs." In other words, many Africans diagnosed with AIDS would not carry the diagnosis in the developed world. And many people have these qualifying symptoms from the many other diseases prevalent in poor regions.


Committing resources to fight a non-existent epidemic makes no sense, except to those making a living off the funds generated by the scares. Resources fighting phantom epidemics can't be used to improve basic sanitation and nutrition, the foundations of health.


At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady, you are insane. From insinuating that the AIDS epidemic in Africa isn't as bad as everyone's saying, to your ridiculous pro life ramblings, to suggesting that it's probably a good idea to BRING BACK DDT (?!), it's clear that you are living in a dream world...a completely antiquated and backwards dreamworld.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

Gosh, it hadn't occurred to me that diagnosing patients before lumping them into categories was such a radical idea! Here I thought it was ordinary public health policy!

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Sasha said...

hey christina! i havent looked at your blog in along time, but i remembered i had a question for you, before.

do you listen to Jack Johnson? if you do, there is a song called The News, that i would be interested in hearing your opinion about.


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