Congress OKs $48 billion for global AIDS fight

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Prof., Jul 24, 2008.

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When do you think we will find a cure for HIV/AIDS?

  1. 5-10 years

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  2. 10-15 years

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. 15-20 years

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  4. 20-25 years

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. I really don't know.

    8 vote(s)
    57.1%
  1. Prof. macrumors 601

    Prof.

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    #1
    President supports bill that will triple current funding levels

    It's about damn time!

    Read the full story HERE!
     
  2. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    Up the irons
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #3
    I would bet that a solution for AIDS will be found, either immunization or treatment.

    However, I am also sure that something more nasty will follow AIDS. :eek:
     
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #4
    Maybe, it could also simply become a chronic disease like Malaria or diabetes. Remember, there was no cure for the plague nor for the 1917-18 flu epidemic. Those two diseases killed off a greater percentage of humankind than Aids probably ever will

    The Plague, the flu and Aids are all products of globalization. As long as we keep traveling and buying products from overseas, viruses and bacteria will continue to spread. Given that modern medicine has kept a lot of people alive that wouldn't have had a chance 200 years ago, there are a lot of immune compromised people out there as well as a lot more genetically "unfit" people. In the past most of those people would have died before they started reproducing.

    I'm not arguing for eugenics, just making a valid point.
     
  5. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #5
    Good points.

    Survival of the fittest is there for a reason. With our medical technology we have allowed those with bad genes to keep spreading them. That may end up hurting us more in the future. Hopefully, our medical technology and expertise will increase to meet the threat in time.

    Diseases to change over time as well. Even diseases such as syphilis have modified themselves to be less harmful to the host so they can continue to spread. Or to put it another way, the most damaging forms caused their hosts to not be able to reproduce (have sex) and spread the disease so that particular version of the family tree has died off.
     
  6. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #6
    And the money keeps flowing...in greater quantity than before.

    Not to worry, we aren't $9 trillion in debt or anything.
     
  7. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #7
    I can think of a number of projects that cost far more and do less. If you think about it, the projection of funding like this might be a better investment than building another Aegis cruiser.
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #8
    yay time to raise taxes or print more money. We need to be cuttting back on government spending and letting private organizations do this type of work not increasing government spending.
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #9
    If we're going to spend money, this a far better reason to spend than funding needless wars. Hmm...spending money on preventing death rather than causing it- how refreshing.

    Can I assume you're opposed to the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives?

    And I don't believe a cure will ever be found. Too many people make too much money from it.
     
  10. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    #10
    $48 Billion is not enough.

    But it's not only about finding a cure for AIDS it's about the education of AIDS and most of that needs to be done in southern Africa.
     
  11. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #11
    I hadn't heard much about it before, but after a few minutes on google, it looks like it would be safe to assume that.
     
  12. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #12
    Private organizations should be responsible for public health?

    Here's a list of public health grants in 2008 by the Gates Foundation:

    http://www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/Grants/default.htm?showYear=2008

    Gates and Buffet don't have these kinds of resources. You really expect the private sector to take care of it? More importantly than funds even would be the lack of coordination in the private sector. As bad as PEPFAR is if global health were driven entirely by private organizations it would be subject to the whims of donors, who'd invest in pet projects in pet regions. It would accomplish very little.
     
  13. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #13
    If we had lower taxes people would have more money to give, also it seems that often private companies are able to get things done faster and cheaper than government programs so that much money may not be needed.
     
  14. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #14
    At least this is a good cause. 3 Trillion on a war wasn't a great cause.
     
  15. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #15
    It is a good cause, but we still need to cut spending.
     
  16. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #16
    Medical research should focus on alleviating the burden of disease, not on returns to investment. The former has a far more positive effect on the economy.
     
  17. DarkHeraldMage macrumors 6502a

    DarkHeraldMage

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    #17
    What's sad is that I completely agree. Why provide a one-time cure for a disease that makes the customer no longer need you? It's to the benefit of big companies to produce a sustaining medication that will keep the person alive for years to come, consistently purchasing their product. It makes me sick.
     
  18. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #18
    While drug companies are easy to demonize, there do happen to be a few technical obstacles to "curing" HIV/AIDS.

    As of 2005, over $600 million a year was being put into the development of an AIDS vaccine.

    http://www.iavi.org/viewfile.cfm?fid=30892

    Do you think that the drug companies are secretly sabotaging these (and other) efforts to ensure their profits?
     
  19. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #19
    But everything is a good cause when it comes to our government. Any increase in funding is desperately needed, lobbied for, then enacted. Before you know it, the government is spending far more than they receive. We are out of money, and for a Congress that demonizes President Bush for running up the debt and passing that on to future generations, they seem to have no qualms about exacerbating the problem.

    I'm also interested to know how much foreign aid is given by other countries as compared to the evil United States.
     
  20. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #20
    You may be more right than you realise…
    BBC link:
    Of course this only applies to the "developed" world where access to anti-retrovirals are readily available.

    For the rest being HIV-positive remains a death-sentence.

    Horrible but probably true.
    Making vast sums of money from others' misery is nothing new.
    :(
     
  21. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #21
    My point, Andy, is that it's better to spend $48b on trying to keep people alive than it is to spend trillions on killing people.

    As for that complex about 'evil united states', that looks needy. Pack it in. ;)
     
  22. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #22
    I get your point, but I stand by mine. Also, I'm going to need a source on that $3 trillion figure, if possible.

    As a matter of fact, I am. I'm leaving for London this afternoon. :)
     
  23. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #23
  24. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #24
    http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp#ForeignAidNumbersinChartsandGraphs

    Net ODA (overseas development assistance) in 2007 as percent of GNI (gross national income)

    Norway 0.95
    Sweden 0.93
    Luxembourg 0.9
    Denmark 0.81
    Netherlands 0.81
    Ireland 0.54
    Austria 0.49
    Belgium 0.43
    Spain 0.41
    Finland 0.4
    France 0.39
    Germany 0.37
    Switzerland 0.37
    UK 0.36
    Australia 0.3
    Canada 0.28
    New Zealand 0.27
    Italy 0.19
    Portugal 0.19
    Japan 0.17
    Greece 0.16
    USA 0.16

    Net ODA in 2007 as US dollar amounts (millions)

    USA 21,197
    Germany 11,048
    France 8,918
    UK 8,839
    Japan 7,824
    Netherlands 5,621
    Spain 5,103
    Sweden 3,853
    Canada 3,585
    Italy 3,509
    Norway 3,349
    Denmark 2,302
    Australia 2,145
    Belgium 1,756
    Austria 1,613
    Switzerland 1,596
    Ireland 1,068
    Finland 880
    Greece 446
    Portugal 359
    Luxembourg 325
    New Zealand 268


    In other words, the EU, with a similar sized economy to the US gives nearly 3 times the aid.

    Also, you need to understand that a lot of this money does not go to the countries that "receive" it. For example, a US contractor gets a 6 million contract to provide development aid to x country. That's referred to as 6 million in aid for x country, but in reality 15-25% goes to G&A for US-based costs, 3-8% goes to US company in fees (which in the case of for-profit companies can go straight into the owner's pocket), 5-50% goes to US-based staff, all air travel must be on US airlines due to the Fly America Act, military aid is used to procure U.S. hardware... Even in extremely lean US-based contractors, probably less than half of the money is spent in other countries. In most cases it's probably a small fraction.

    We're not talking about writing checks and handing cash over to other countries.
     
  25. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #25
    I missed this before but these posts show that people are both completely naive when it comes to medical research and overly cynical. This might be the case in a pharmaceutical company research facility but I can assure you both the majority out there aren't like this at all (most are university or hospital affiliated and get their money from public grants/fundraising). Most scientists don't get paid based on the potential returns for their work. They get paid on the basis of their experience (& publication record). What drives most is not the hope of striking it rich (most of us are cynical enough to know this won't happen) but instead to crack a scientific problem. HIV is more than just HIV - it's also massive problems facing all communities like TB which is remerging because of HIV infection.

    You can use Pubmed to get a rough indicator of the amount of effort put into researching a disease. Last year there were 12752* papers in Pubmed on HIV (and the number has been growing each year since HIV was discovered). These are unique papers, the majority representing 2-3 years work on a specific problem related to HIV. It's animal work, human work, theoretical work, review articles, communications etc. They're hitting HIV from every angle imaginable with an incredible amount of effort. There's a guaranteed Nobel Prize in Medicine for those who crack the problem.

    I'm incredibly optimistic for a cure. It's only been a couple of decades since we've been able to manipulate DNA with any ease. We've only just come to understand and manipulate micro-RNAs. The arsenal we have to combat diseases is growing exponentially. Techniques used last year would likely be anachronistic this year. Molecular biology is in it's very infancy still and is already arguably one of the most powerful tools that has been available to medical science in history.



    * edit to explain. Pubmed is a public repository of scientific abstracts and papers. If you publish your work in a quality peer-reviewed journal it will likely make its way into the pubmed index (among others). It's a repository all researchers use to keep up with the latest advances. As a general rule research that is published in a journal is disclosed/public knowledge and therefore can no longer be patented. So by the large private companies (i.e. pharmaceutical companies) don't publish very often (although some do have scientific arms that allow publication/provide funds to public research institutes that publish). So the numbers in Pubmed by the large represent novel, unique research papers that are in the public domain adding to the sum knowledge of HIV.
     

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