November 26th, 2008
Don’t get your hopes up, but the Associated Press is reporting on a study published online Tuesday in the respected journal The Lancet, which, using complex mathematical models, predicts that HIV could theoretically disappear within a decade if everyone living in countries with high infection rates are regularly tested and treated.
Caution is always wise when reading about research like this. Mathematical models on HIV/AIDS regularly come and go. I’m not aware of very many which have proven to be accurate as a predictive tool, and I doubt this one will be either since it’s is loaded with assumptions which simply aren’t realistic. I don’t have the full-text article, but the short abstract alone doesn’t give much reason for optimism.
The predictive model was based on data from South Africa and Malawi using a number of assumptions. The model assumed that people would be voluntarily tested each year and immediately given drugs if they tested positive for HIV, regardless of whether they were sick. That last assumption alone is problematic. Even if drugs were available for everyone, having them take it even when their HIV infection hasn’t progressed to AIDS is fraught with controversy. AIDS medication has several serious side-effects, and the long-term effect of taking these powerful drugs is unknown. The longest that most of these drugs have been available is only about ten years.
The model also assumes that all HIV transmission in South Africa is heterosexual. While HIV is predominantly transmitted heterosexually in South Africa, this assumption does represent a strange gap in the model.
Another concern not mentioned in the abstract is the assumptions they used concerning the transmissibility of HIV in people who are infected but are on Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). We do know that HAART can drive viral loads to undetectable levels in most cases, and thus reduce the risk of transmitting the virus onto others. But that risk of transmission is not zero, and besides that, viral loads can fluctuate — for example, when the patient has a cold or flu.
But if all the model’s assumptions did hold true, this model suggests that HIV could be theoretically eliminated in a decade. The cost test and treat everyone as the study suggests would be staggering, but no more staggering than the way we are doing things now:
“We estimate that in 2032, the yearly cost of the present strategy and the theoretical strategy would both be US$1-7 billion; however, after this time, the cost of the present strategy would continue to increase whereas that of the theoretical strategy would decrease.
I doubt that we will see the demise of AIDS within ten years, but its incidence could be significantly reduced. This model clearly demonstrates the benefits of universal testing and treatment to society overall, not just to those who are infected today. Sticking with current policies all but guarantees the continued growth of the pandemic worldwide.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.