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This terrible disease is needlessly destroying millions of humans, including at least 16,000 Americans each and every year.  AIDS keeps getting worse every year even though we know an inexpensive and proven solution.  Cuba showed way back in the 1980's how to control the disease.  Long before Castro came to power, Cuba had a high quality medical system.  When AIDS arrived in Cuba in the early 1980's from Castor's misadventures in Angola, Cuban physicians used traditional case-finding, contact tracing, and isolation when necessary. Cuba prevented AIDS from spreading.  It has managed to have one-twentieth the level of AIDS as the U.S. and one-one hundredth the level of other Caribbean nations. This is despite the fact that most Cubans are at least partly Afro-American (possibly greater susceptibility) and despite the fact that Cuba has very little money.  

The U.S. CDC long ago showed that these preventive medicine case-finding methods could work in the U.S.  However, these methods are not considered politically correct by libertarian America.  We won't allow the traditional methods used for epidemics of serious infectious diseases: required testing, proactive case finding, and requiring those infected to abstain from having sex with those uninfected, quarantining them if necessary.  This approach was long used for tuberculosis and measles as well as other deadly diseases.  It was recently used worldwide with SARS.  Oddly, the gay lobby is the most feared by politicians on this issue, but it is the gay community and IV drug user community who are suffering the most and whose lives would be saved from a sensible approach.

Today, the U.S. and U.K. AIDS policies are failing.  The whole emphasis is on "safe sex" and abstinence combined with medical treatment of only half of those infected, despite the solid evidence that this educational and treatment approach falls far, far short of what is needed.  In fact, the spread of AIDS in the U.S. and the U.K. has never slowed and there is evidence that it is even slightly accelerating in the U.S. and dramatically increasing in the U.K.  We don't have a cure or a vaccine and may never have one.  The virus is becoming resistant to many of our drugs.  The only really way to have safe sex is to stop the spread of the infection.  Changing the human sex drive is extremely difficult, but there is another way, proactive case finding.

Every year, at least 40,000 more Americans become infected and 16,000 die of AIDS.  The newly infected individuals will soon need life-long treatment at the cost of $34,000 per individual per year.  The U.S. taxpayer, you and I, will have to pay $1.3 billion more per year for the next 20 to 40 years for the individuals needlessly infected this year alone.  The individuals infected last year will cost us $20 to $40 billion, those infected this year will cost us $20-40 billion more, those infected infected next year will cost us $20-40 billion more, and so on.  That's very, very big money which won't be available for other uses.  Money doesn't grow on trees.  Those infected will have to suffer physical, emotional, and financial stress and a likelihood of early death, all because the U.S. government refuses to track down people infected with AIDS and to assure that they get treatment and don't spread the disease.  This is all thanks to some bizarre idea of political correctness.

HIV patients should consider taking selenium to reduce hospitalizations, vitamin D to reduce their higher rates of osteoporosis, a standard multivitamin with minerals, and yogurt to help reduce diarrhea and other infections in addition to any required standard HAART medication.  For more, see HIV and AIDS Treatment.

U.S. AIDS: Three Quarters Didn't Know They were Infected: In a CDC survey of 5,600 HIV carriers, 77% did not know they were infected. Most believed they were at low risk for the disease! Half said they had gay relations in the prior six months. Of the total number tested, 10% were HIV-positive. People were recruited for the study in bars, stores and in parks in six major US cities. Federal authorities would like to make AIDS tests routine so as to reduce infection rates believed to be caused by people being ignorant they are carriers of the virus. African-Americans make up over 50% of those infected. 

U.S.: 400,000 HIV Positive People Not in Treatment out of 900,000 Infected: 40,000 more American get infected each year with 15,300 deaths in 2000, down from 17,000 in 1999. Worldwide 3 million deaths and 40 million infections per year. The spread of HIV in the U.S. has not slowed at all. CDC. Reuters 2/25/02. Deaths have increased to 16,000 in 2002. Ed: The safe sex campaign is a joke. The epidemic continues despite it with massive health care costs to the American taxpayer and high rates of death for Americans, especially gay men and IV drug abusers.  Case finding, contact tracing, laws to require testing at high rate locations, and legal penalties for non-disclosure and unprotected sex of knowing carriers would very likely save the lives of hundreds of thousands of these men and  their smaller numbers of females contacts.

U.S.: Unprotected Gay Sex Common: 55% of the gay men taking part in a survey of sexual behavior reported having unprotected, insertive anal sex over the previous six months, and 48% had engaged in unprotected, receptive anal sex. A similar number, 45%, of the men had unprotected oral intercourse. Twenty per cent of the men said they had engaged in all three of these behaviors, and 78% reported having had either unprotected anal or unprotected oral sex. The survey comprised 4,862 gay and bisexual men who had had anal intercourse with one or more men in the previous year (American Journal of Public Health 2003;93:926-32). These gay and bisexual men had a median of seven male sexual partners over the past six months.

U.S.: Non-Disclosure Common: 1,421 individuals enrolled in the HIV cost and utilization services study (HSCUS), with the sample being weighted to be representative of the population of 197,063 HIV positive adults receiving medical care across the United States. Results showed that 42% of gay or bisexual men, 19% of heterosexual men, and 17% of women reported having sex without disclosing their HIV positive status to their sexual partners. Non-disclosure of HIV status was more common in casual encounters and in non-exclusive partnerships. Unprotected anal or vaginal sex was relatively common among all groups (American Journal of Public Health 2003;93:949-54).

U.S.: 10% Gays At Gay Bars Infected with HIV: 5,719 gays were tested at dance clubs, bars, health clubs, and street locations in 6 large U.S. cities. Of 573 who tested HIV+, 77% didn’t know they were infected (91% for Afro-American males who were also the most likely to be infected). 50% were having anal sex without condoms. New infections are nine times higher for gay and bisexuals than heterosexuals. Barcelona AP 7/8/02

U.K: HIV and Chlamydia Spreading Faster: 53 000 people had HIV in the United Kingdom at the end of 2003 with 27% unaware of their infection. The number of new HIV diagnoses in 2003 was 6606—more than double the 2835 diagnoses in 1998. Heterosexual AIDS is increasing rapidly. Figures for 2003 also show continued increases in sexually transmitted infections. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 89,431 new diagnoses of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infections were reported, representing an 8% increase since 2002. In Scotland, laboratory reports of chlamydial infection rose by 88% between 2000 and 2003. BMJ  2004;329:1258 

HIV Infections RisingWhile the number of deaths due to AIDS in Western Europe dropped to only 3,500 in 2003, the number of infected doubled in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 2002 (UNAIDS, 2003). Of 18,000 new cases in 2003, 58% were contracted through heterosexual intercourse ( In 16 countries for which data is available, the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections rose slowly between 1998 and 2001, before increasing substantially by 26% between 2001 and 2002. This rise continued with a 9% increase in 2003 with a 39% increase in the U.K.!   Portugal,  the U.K., Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland have been particularly hard hit.  Central Europe has so far been largely spared, but Russia and the Ukraine are even worse than Western Europe.  The most recent report from CBS on Feb. 23, 2004 is that there have been a record 35,000 new cases in Western Europe.  In Russia and the Ukraine an incredible 1% of the population is thought to be infected vs. 0.3% in Western Europe.  In 1998, there were very few infections in Eastern Europe.  The U.S. rate is about 0.3% although it rose much earlier than in Europe and has not been accelerating like Western Europe. Only 15% of U.S. infections are from heterosexual sex.  Many of the European heterosexual infections involve sub-Saharan African immigrants transmitting the disease.

New Infections Spread Quickly: People who contract the HIV virus are much more infective in the first weeks after a new infection according to a longitudinal 10-month study of 15,000 volunteers in Uganda. HIV spreads in only 0.1% of heterosexual acts, but new infections spread 10-20 times faster.  Wawer, et al. J Infectious Dis 5/05. This fits research showing that Africans do not have more sexual partners during their lives than in the developed world, but whereas in the developed world, most have only one partner at a time, while in Africa, it is normal to have several long-term relationships ongoing at the same time.  This dramatically increases the speed and extent to which HIV infection can spread in a population.

Botswana: Children 90% Likelihood of Dying of AIDS: WHO 2/27/03 reports that, at current rates, 90% of 15-year-olds will end up eventually dying of AIDS. More than 1/3 of population is infected already, the highest in the world, but Zimbabwe and South Africa not far behind. Professor Rodney Phillips of Oxford University carried out the analysis.

South Africa: Kids, Europeans, Africans High Infection Rates: Infection rates of children 2-14 is 5.6%. Nearly 9,000 participants were tested using anonymous saliva tests. It has also shown that the European population is much more at risk from the virus than previously thought. Some 6.2% were found to carry the virus. Native Africans had the highest prevalence—18.4%. 12/13/02

Zimbabwe: 50% Males 30-34 HIV Positive: Nearly 50% of men aged 30 to 34 in Gregson's survey were HIV positive, compared with only about 3% of 19-year-old men. For women of 19, infection rates were around 17%. Botswana and Zimbabwe have the world’s highest rates. Nature 5/31/02; Zimbabwe 33% and in Botswana 39% of adults are HIV positive. AP 7/3/02; Eastern Europe reported 250,000 new cases in past year. U.S. has 60,000 new infections each year. Worldwide, 3,000,000 died in 2001 and 5,000,000 more became HIV positive. China, India (4 million current HIV carriers), and Indonesia all have increasing rates. U.N.


Cheaper Testing: CD4+ test, called panleucogating (PLG), FACScount, and costs under $5 and is as effective as the standard technology, the team found[EY1] - but it costs 75 per cent less. CDC team working in Uganda evaluated two tests: an experimental way of measuring the level of HIV in the blood, which costs just a fifth of the standard viral load test. viral load test measures the blood level of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme unique to retroviruses, instead of directly assessing the level of viral RNA. The level of the enzyme correlates with the amount of HIV present in the blood. New Scientist 7/8/02. The test was developed by the Swedish company Cavidi and costs about $30, compared to $150 for the standard method.

OraQuick Rapid, Cheap Test: $10-15 per test, 20 minutes, waived FDA simple test uses a fingerstick. (800-869-3538)


Circumcision: Protective in India, Too: Just like a study in Africa, Hindu men who were circumcised were much less likely to contract HIV. 6/21/03 BMJ, Julia Walsh. Authors also favor religious based funding since HIV rates lower with abstinence fostered by these groups.

Circumcision: Less HIV and AIDS in Circumcised Males: 34 observational studies have been done on the issue and all have found at least a trend towards more infections in uncircumcised males.  The average findings suggest that uncircumcised males suffer an HIV infection rate at least twice as high as circumcised males. Skeptics point out that the studies are not as well as controlled as would be desired.  Three prospective randomized studies have been started.  Male circumcision for prevention of heterosexual acquisition of HIV in men. Siegfried N, Muller M, Volmink J, Deeks J, Egger M, Low N, Weiss H, Walker S, Williamson P. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(3):CD003362. The studies find the strongest protective effect among males with otherwise high risk factors. AIDS. 2000 Oct 20;14(15):2361-70. Ed: Even in the U.S., every year another 40,000 people, primarily young adults, become infected with HIV. While AIDS is less of a heterosexual disease in the U.S., some cases are spread this way and there would be more if circumcision rates were not so high. The HIV medical treatment costs of just those 40,000 people infected last year will be at least $30 billion over their lifetimes unless some new, inexpensive treatment is discovered. Of course, many of them will also die prematurely. 16,000 died last year from AIDS. Another 40,000 will almost certainly be infected this year with infection rates and female infection rates on the rise (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 2, 2004.). The average age for circumcision in many areas of Africa is 20 years of age, but infant circumcision has fewer complications and is better at reducing disease transmission. 

Circumcision: Uncircumcised 800% More Likely to be Infected: A study of 2268 men in India found that compared with uncircumcised men, circumcised men had an adjusted risk of HIV-1 infection of 0.12, which was significant (P = .003). The incidence of HIV-1 infection in uncircumcised men was 5.5%, while it was just 0.7% among the circumcised men. All of the men were not infected at the start of the study. Two of the 191 circumcised men tested positive for HIV-1 while 165 of the 2,107 uncircumcised men seroconverted during follow-up. Steven Reynolds, Johns Hopkins.