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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wasn't AIDS Supposed To Kill Us All By Now?

Kid Various remembers the 80's. And he remembers that an AIDS pandemic was supposed to have been one of the major challenges of the 21st century.

Didn't happen.

Kevin de Cock, who has headed the global battle against Aids, said at the weekend that, outside very poor African countries, Aids is confined to "high-risk groups", including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers. And even in these communities it remains quite rare. "It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in countries [outside sub-Saharan Africa]", he said. In other words? All that hysterical fearmongering about Aids spreading among sexed-up western youth was a pack of lies.

The Kid doesn't want to get down on AIDS research. It's an important thing. But funding and attention on HIV/AIDS for the past 20 years has been way, way out of line with the nature of the threat. In a world of infinite resources - that's fine. But the reality is that HIV/AIDS research eclipsed and drew resources from other areas of health research, specifically more "mundane" forms of disease like cancer and heart disease - which will kill more people this year than AIDS ever will.

The past is past. And like the Kid said, nothing wrong with trying to eliminate AIDS. But it is illustrative of the problem of falling prey to the catastrophist vision of the future.

The dark apocalyptic visions of the catastrophists (or as The Kid likes to call them - the catasophists) appear with studious regularity year after year. Yet their malefic prognostications never seem to pan out. Funny that way.

One may wonder what the global warming and peak oil catasophists will be onto next 20 years hence.


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