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Old 06-27-2005, 07:50 AM   #1
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Bush-Moral Crusade (NY Times editorial)

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In the battle against AIDS, the Bush administration is both savior and scoundrel. Washington is the single largest financier of AIDS programs in poor countries. But the administration uses its muscle to extinguish necessary and successful programs it finds politically objectionable, and to carry out ineffective ideological crusades.

First the good news. Washington's financing for AIDS treatment does not go as far as it could because American programs have been buying only expensive brand-name drugs, a sop to the pharmaceutical lobby. Administration officials have said that without approval from the Food and Drug Administration, they can't be sure that generics are safe and effective, even though the World Health Organization has endorsed many of them and AIDS programs around the world use them with excellent results. It's not a question of science: the drugs cannot be used in the United States because they would violate patents, so the F.D.A. never examined them.

Until now. Last week, the F.D.A. approved for overseas use two Indian-made generic versions of nevirapine, a standard ingredient in the triple cocktail, and a generic version of efavirenz, another widely used antiretroviral. That brings the number of approved generic antiretrovirals to seven. While none are yet in use in Washington's overseas programs, the approvals will eventually allow four times as many lives to be saved for the same amount of money.

Also last week, however, the administration was on a moral crusade that could lead to a significant rise in AIDS cases in Russia, China, elsewhere in Asia and in the former East bloc. In these places, drug users who inject are a prime risk group for AIDS, and the gateway through which the epidemic will spread into the general population. As many as a third of new AIDS infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are in drug users; in Russia, Unaids estimates that injecting drug users are 80 percent of the infected. Needle exchange programs can help control this part of the epidemic.

But at a Unaids policy meeting this month, a Bush administration official asked that all references to needle exchange be dropped from the group's governing policy paper.

Unaids doesn't control much money, but it sets world policy on how to fight AIDS, and usually operates by consensus to give its recommendations more force. Although America is virtually alone in its opposition to needle exchange, its clout as the largest Unaids donor means it might be able to win a vote this week in the group's program coordination board. If Unaids could no longer work on needle exchange, nations would lose a valuable source of technical help. And a lack of consensus could keep countries from starting needle exchanges.

American law already forbids United States money from financing needle exchange programs. For Washington to decide that it wants to stop everyone else from doing that as well is a breathtakingly dangerous step.
Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/op...=th&oref=login


The response to an epidemic should not be dictated by morality; the response to an epidemic should be dictated by medical knowledge and experience. The Bush Administration is sacrificing lives for the sake of their own moral code. And it pisses me off.
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:38 AM   #2
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Then do not take the money....

Sad as it may seem, the President has a constituency to be faithful to.

I am not saying it is right or wrong....I have been very vocal in here about my lack of support for the strings attatched to the money. Bono however on meet the press had a very different attitude about the President and the money given.
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:48 AM   #3
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Then do not take the money....
but why provide the money if you are going to actively promote practices that will limit the spread of the disease?

i don't mean to suggest that they should provide nothing.

but the policy is counter productive to say the least.
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:55 AM   #4
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Single use needles should be used all over from Africa to Eastern Europe to Asia, but you have to have a lot of them and a lot of distribution or else needle sharing will become even worse.
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Old 06-27-2005, 09:09 AM   #5
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"Also last week, however, the administration was on a moral crusade that could lead to a significant rise in AIDS cases in Russia, China, elsewhere in Asia and in the former East bloc. In these places, drug users who inject are a prime risk group for AIDS, and the gateway through which the epidemic will spread into the general population. As many as a third of new AIDS infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are in drug users; in Russia, Unaids estimates that injecting drug users are 80 percent of the infected. Needle exchange programs can help control this part of the epidemic."

The US refusing to join the needle exchange could lead to a significant rise in needle-related AIDS cases? Hmmm...and here I was thinking that people who inject drugs into their veins were the cause of needle-related AIDS cases...

Silly me.
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Old 06-27-2005, 09:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
[BThe US refusing to join the needle exchange could lead to a significant rise in needle-related AIDS cases? Hmmm...and here I was thinking that people who inject drugs into their veins were the cause of needle-related AIDS cases...

Silly me. [/B]


so if you're a drug user, you deserve to die from AIDS?
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Old 06-27-2005, 09:56 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Irvine511




so if you're a drug user, you deserve to die from AIDS?
Good grief, Irvine did I say that?

I said nothing about anyone deserving anything. The article blamed any rise in AIDS cases on the US because it's not joining the needle exchange. That's ridiculous. The people injecting themselves have the blame. Did the US make them inject themselves with drugs?
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Old 06-27-2005, 10:05 AM   #8
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America wastes money just like it wastes oil and resources. "Efficency" is plain not in the American vocabulary--except, of course, when businesses are looking for excuses to fire workers. Then they counter it by paying their CEO hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Old 06-27-2005, 10:09 AM   #9
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'Bush' and 'moral' in the same sentence. Wow.
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Old 06-27-2005, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


Good grief, Irvine did I say that?

I said nothing about anyone deserving anything. The article blamed any rise in AIDS cases on the US because it's not joining the needle exchange. That's ridiculous. The people injecting themselves have the blame. Did the US make them inject themselves with drugs?


does it matter why people inject themselves with drugs? all that matters is that people do, and they need help in both getting off drugs and in reducing the transmission of HIV from one user to the next. if the US fails to address this problem, and if it continues to view needle exchange programs as analagous to an endorsement of drug use, then yes, we will be to blame.

to hold an individual to account for what is a very complex problem -- which we can trace back, perhaps, to economic inequality and lack of opportunity, something the US does little to ameliorate -- is really simplistic. one one level, yes, i suppose someone does make a decision to stick a needle in their arm. but i also don't think that assigning blame is at all productive, and that with problems like these, *especially* in countries like Russia, we're better off addressing first the needle itself, and then the circumstance that lead to drug use.
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Old 06-27-2005, 12:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




does it matter why people inject themselves with drugs? all that matters is that people do, and they need help in both getting off drugs and in reducing the transmission of HIV from one user to the next. if the US fails to address this problem, and if it continues to view needle exchange programs as analagous to an endorsement of drug use, then yes, we will be to blame.

to hold an individual to account for what is a very complex problem -- which we can trace back, perhaps, to economic inequality and lack of opportunity, something the US does little to ameliorate -- is really simplistic. one one level, yes, i suppose someone does make a decision to stick a needle in their arm. but i also don't think that assigning blame is at all productive, and that with problems like these, *especially* in countries like Russia, we're better off addressing first the needle itself, and then the circumstance that lead to drug use.
The government has no business giving out needles so that people can shoot themselves up with drugs. People make their own choices; if they choose the dangerous choices, then it's on their own heads. To say on one hand "We made it illegal in our own country" and on the other hand, say "But since you're in Russia we don't mind subsidizing your deadly habit" is outrageous. Does anyone remember a certain something called "personal responsibility"?

There are many human rights that are inalienable. Living destructively and then expecting the government to help you live destructively is not a right.

And the idea that drug problems can be traced back to "economic inequality" is just an enabling excuse. Most people who experience "economic inequality"don't turn to drugs. Those who turn to drugs make their own choices.
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Old 06-27-2005, 12:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


The government has no business giving out needles so that people can shoot themselves up with drugs. People make their own choices; if they choose the dangerous choices, then it's on their own heads. To say on one hand "We made it illegal in our own country" and on the other hand, say "But since you're in Russia we don't mind subsidizing your deadly habit" is outrageous. Does anyone remember a certain something called "personal responsibility"?

There are many human rights that are inalienable. Living destructively and then expecting the government to help you live destructively is not a right.

And the idea that drug problems can be traced back to "economic inequality" is just an enabling excuse. Most people who experience "economic inequality"don't turn to drugs. Those who turn to drugs make their own choices.


so do those who turn to drugs and get AIDS deserve to die?

also, isn't the point of needle exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV -- and isn't that a greater evil than someone shooting up drugs (contrary to popular believe, the majority of people who get HIV get it either through needles or sex wtih someone who uses needles)?

why take an easy moral stand that drugs are wrong when the greater crisis is HIV? why cut off your nose to spite your face? it strikes me as the same mentality that says no to condoms because you shouldn't be having sex to begin with. can't we say taht we live in a far from perfect world where people do drugs and have sex, and that while one does make a choice to engage in this behavior, it's far more complicated than that and what people need is compassion and not judgement and that a needle exchange program is one way to start?
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Old 06-27-2005, 01:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




so do those who turn to drugs and get AIDS deserve to die?

also, isn't the point of needle exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV -- and isn't that a greater evil than someone shooting up drugs (contrary to popular believe, the majority of people who get HIV get it either through needles or sex wtih someone who uses needles)?

why take an easy moral stand that drugs are wrong when the greater crisis is HIV? why cut off your nose to spite your face? it strikes me as the same mentality that says no to condoms because you shouldn't be having sex to begin with. can't we say taht we live in a far from perfect world where people do drugs and have sex, and that while one does make a choice to engage in this behavior, it's far more complicated than that and what people need is compassion and not judgement and that a needle exchange program is one way to start?
I'm not saying they deserve to die. But I am saying they are making a dangerous choice, so they are to blame. No one made them shoot up; not me, not the governement, no one. They choose to, knowing it's dangerous. Governments should not use their people's money to subsidize the dangerous habits/crimes of people.

When society says "I know shooting up is dangerous, but since I figure you're going to do it anway, I'm going to go give you needles to do it with", society has become an enabler. People never learn to stop dangerous habits when the people who are supposed to be helping them become enablers. If you had a friend who was a smoker, and you were against it, would you buy him a pack of cigarettes just because you figure "Oh well, he's going to do it anyway"? No, you wouldn't (I hope). You would encourage him to stop smoking, and if you had to get tough you would. Bush is making the right choice. He is choosing not to be an enabler.
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Old 06-27-2005, 01:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511



it strikes me as the same mentality that says no to condoms because you shouldn't be having sex to begin with.
Last I heard, sex is not illegal. However, illegal drug usage is indeed ... illegal.
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Old 06-27-2005, 01:18 PM   #15
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
Bush is making the right choice. He is choosing not to be an enabler.
Amusing considering Bush is an untreated alcoholic who will probably relapse any day now. One would wonder why those close to him have not encouraged him to seek treatment. They must be 'enablers'.
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