The sequester and HIV/AIDS

This year, we have had some educational moments in HIV/AIDS treatment.

1. A paper Ive been meaning to blog about demonstrated that the sooner an HIV+ individual starts antiretroviral therapy, the better. Ideally, <4 months after infection:

Enhanced CD4+ T-Cell Recovery with Earlier HIV-1 Antiretroviral Therapy

2. A baby might have successfully cleared HIV-1 infection after immediate treatment with antiretrovirals (and possibly other unknown factors at this point).

We might have jack squat for an HIV-1 vaccine, but we have made great strides in HIV/AIDS treatment by the development of antiretroviral therapy.  The ‘trick’ has been getting the medications to the people who need it. Before when I said this, I was referring to the poorest people on the planet, those living in extreme poverty in Africa, SE Asia, for example. There is no way they could ever afford thousands-of-dollars a month antiretrovirals, if they ever get diagnosed as HIV+ in the first place.

Certainly we have a problem with antiretroviral access and HIV testing in the West, but it pales in comparison to what other countries are dealing with.

In a fight to reach the bottom, this is happening, thanks to the ‘sequester‘ that happened in the US.

Outside of cutting NIH and CDC funding, thus cutting research that can (and does) save lives, the sequester is cutting 1) funding for HIV testing and 2) antiretroviral treatment.

This means that more people who are infected wont know it. People who even know they are infected wont get access to medications that will lower their viral load and improve their lives. No medication means one is more likely to transmit the virus to others, who will not know they are infected due to lack of testing. People who even know they are infected wont get access to medications that will lower their viral load and improve their lives. No medication means one is more likely to transmit the virus to others, who will not know they are infected due to lack of testing. People who even know they are infected wont get access to medications that will lower their viral load and improve their lives. No medication means one is more likely to transmit the virus to others, who will not know they are infected due to lack of testing.

And so on and so on and so on until we are royally screwed.

And lets not forget the cost of all the medical treatment undiagnosed and untreated HIV/AIDS patients will need due to complications of HIV/AIDS.

Cutting off our noses to spite our face, we are making ‘financial cuts’ that will cost more, money and lives, in the long run.

*slowclap*

Comments

  1. #1 Reynold
    http://www.wearesmrt.com/bb/
    March 7, 2013

    Well….to try to look on the bright side of things, I suppose it could be worse.

    This guy could be the new health minister, or whatever equivalent position you have in the states.

    The Bible says women are supposed to be sober. “That means get off the drugs. You say, ‘Well, nobody in our church is smoking pot.’ Well, what about all the other drugs? What about all the other mind-altering drugs that you’re on for your [big quote fingers] ‘depression’? For your ‘anxiety’?… No Christian ought to be on psychiatric meds, period.

  2. #3 Christa
    Missouri
    March 9, 2013

    Hi, Abby do you have facebook or does this site have a facebook page? Would love to get updates on your work. I seen two videos of you on the Thinking Atheist and would love to hear more..

  3. #4 ERV
    March 9, 2013

    Hi Christa! No, my personal Facebook is all I have (youre welcome to friend me, though! Just mention you are a fan of ERV or I might forget and let you languish in friend purgatory hehe!).

    But that gives me a good idea– we can put different pages/tabs here. I should put a page up with links to all my YouTube videos!

  4. #5 Christa
    Missouri
    March 9, 2013

    Yes, that is what I was looking for ..I would love to see your youtube channel..
    Thanks for the quick response!

  5. [...] Asking Questions and the “Finkbeiner Test” Oxford Nanopore chip announced! (Almost…) The sequester and HIV/AIDS Take me as I am, and my paper as it [...]

  6. #7 Bradley
    TX
    March 15, 2013

    Wait, so the people saying that we need to cut “unnecessary spending” think HIV testing and treatment is “unnecessary”?

  7. #8 WLU
    March 19, 2013

    @Bradley

    I would bet the thinking is in part informed by the idea that only “sluts and homos” get AIDS. Possibly also that God protects the righteous.

    Or, for a more positive spin, the whole idea was that the sequester was meant to have such horrible consequences if it went forward, it would force realistic discussions on the budget.

    My knee-jerk reaction is “tax the rich”, or in this case “give the rich AIDS”, either would seem to have positive consequences.