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U.N. to Cut Estimate Of AIDS Epidemic
Old 11-20-2007, 06:50 AM   #1
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U.N. to Cut Estimate Of AIDS Epidemic

The United Nations' top AIDS scientists plan to acknowledge this week that they have long overestimated both the size and the course of the epidemic, which they now believe has been slowing for nearly a decade, according to U.N. documents prepared for the announcement.
"Having millions fewer people with a lethal contagious disease is good news. Some researchers, however, contend that persistent overestimates in the widely quoted U.N. reports have long skewed funding decisions and obscured potential lessons about how to slow the spread of HIV. Critics have also said that U.N. officials overstated the extent of the epidemic to help gather political and financial support for combating AIDS."
"There was a tendency toward alarmism, and that fit perhaps a certain fundraising agenda,"

Gee, I'm glad that never happens with global warming

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Old 11-20-2007, 09:32 AM   #2
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There was a very interesting Science Friday podcast a while back about AIDS relief in Africa. The relief workers phrased their responses carefully, but they basically were saying that the focus on AIDS in Africa was resulting in an *increase* in deaths.

The problem was, all these big $ were going to things like expensive AIDS drugs, and that money was not going to more basic problems. They would hand out pills, and the poor people literally had no source of clean water to take the pills with. People were dying due to lack of basic needs.

The money spent to increase the life span of one AIDS victim could be spent to save maybe hundreds of lives of others, by providing basics like sanitary water.

That is my exact fear with GW - the money is going to go towards solving the wrong problem.


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Old 11-20-2007, 06:06 PM   #3
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I'll have to listen to that podcast, Science Friday is one of my subscriptions. The problem with big science is not that researchers aren't trying to do the right thing, but that money talks. It's the same as any other human endeavour. The NSF is supposed to take care of money bias by making grants subject to peer review, but even there there is bias towards established paradigms.
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