Overblown AIDS Figures - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-20-2007, 05:20 PM   #1
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 06:39 PM
Overblown AIDS Figures

Quote:
JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 19 -- 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.

AIDS remains a devastating public health crisis in the most heavily affected areas of sub-Saharan Africa. But the far-reaching revisions amount to at least a partial acknowledgment of criticisms long leveled by outside researchers who disputed the U.N. portrayal of an ever-expanding global epidemic.

The latest estimates, due to be released publicly Tuesday, put the number of annual new HIV infections at 2.5 million, a cut of more than 40 percent from last year's estimate, documents show. The worldwide total of people infected with HIV -- estimated a year ago at nearly 40 million and rising -- now will be reported as 33 million.

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," said Helen Epstein, author of "The Invisible Cure: Africa, the West, and the Fight Against AIDS." "I hope these new numbers will help refocus the response in a more pragmatic way."

Annemarie Hou, spokeswoman for the U.N. AIDS agency, speaking from Geneva, declined to comment on the grounds that the report had not been released publicly. In documents obtained by The Washington Post, U.N. officials say the revisions stemmed mainly from better measurements rather than fundamental shifts in the epidemic. They also say they are continually seeking to improve their tracking of AIDS with the latest available tools.

Among the reasons for the overestimate is methodology; U.N. officials traditionally based their national HIV estimates on infection rates among pregnant women receiving prenatal care. As a group, such women were younger, more urban, wealthier and likely to be more sexually active than populations as a whole, according to recent studies.

The United Nations' AIDS agency, known as UNAIDS and led by Belgian scientist Peter Piot since its founding in 1995, has been a major advocate for increasing spending to combat the epidemic. Over the past decade, global spending on AIDS has grown by a factor of 30, reaching as much as $10 billion a year.

But in its role in tracking the spread of the epidemic and recommending strategies to combat it, UNAIDS has drawn criticism in recent years from Epstein and others who have accused it of being politicized and not scientifically rigorous.

For years, UNAIDS reports have portrayed an epidemic that threatened to burst beyond its epicenter in southern Africa to generate widespread illness and death in other countries. In China alone, one report warned, there would be 10 million infections -- up from 1 million in 2002 -- by the end of the decade.

Piot often wrote personal prefaces to those reports warning of the dangers of inaction, saying in 2006 that "the pandemic and its toll are outstripping the worst predictions."

But by then, several years' worth of newer, more accurate studies already offered substantial evidence that the agency's tools for measuring and predicting the course of the epidemic were flawed.

Newer studies commissioned by governments and relying on random, census-style sampling techniques found consistently lower infection rates in dozens of countries. For example, the United Nations has cut its estimate of HIV cases in India by more than half because of a study completed this year. This week's report also includes major cuts to U.N. estimates for Nigeria, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The revisions affect not just current numbers but past ones as well. A UNAIDS report from December 2002, for example, put the total number of HIV cases at 42 million. The real number at that time was 30 million, the new report says.

The downward revisions also affect estimated numbers of orphans, AIDS deaths and patients in need of costly antiretroviral drugs -- all major factors in setting funding levels for the world's response to the epidemic.

James Chin, a former World Health Organization AIDS expert who has long been critical of UNAIDS, said that even these revisions may not go far enough. He estimated the number of cases worldwide at 25 million.

"If they're coming out with 33 million, they're getting closer. It's a little high, but it's not outrageous anymore," Chin, author of "The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology With Political Correctness," said from Berkeley, Calif.

The picture of the AIDS epidemic portrayed by the newer studies, and set to be endorsed by U.N. scientists, shows a massive concentration of infections in the southern third of Africa, with nations such as Swaziland and Botswana reporting as many as one in four adults infected with HIV.

Rates are lower in East Africa and much lower in West Africa. Researchers say that the prevalence of circumcision, which slows the spread of HIV, and regional variations in sexual behavior are the biggest factors determining the severity of the AIDS epidemic in different countries and even within countries.

Beyond Africa, AIDS is more likely to be concentrated among high-risk groups, such as users of injectable drugs, sex workers and gay men. More precise measurements of infection rates should allow for better targeting of prevention measures, researchers say.
link
__________________

__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 11-20-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: London/Sydney
Posts: 6,608
Local Time: 09:39 AM
So that "Bono claps his hand every second" joke now becomes "Bono claps his hand every third second".
__________________

__________________
Earnie Shavers is offline  
Old 11-21-2007, 09:46 PM   #3
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
the iron horse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: in a glass of CheerWine
Posts: 3,251
Local Time: 03:39 AM
"Beyond Africa, AIDS is more likely to be concentrated among high-risk groups, such as users of injectable drugs, sex workers and gay men. More precise measurements of infection rates should allow for better targeting of prevention measures, researchers say."
__________________
the iron horse is offline  
Old 11-21-2007, 11:21 PM   #4
Blue Crack Addict
 
DaveC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: illegitimi non carborundum
Posts: 17,410
Local Time: 03:39 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Earnie Shavers
So that "Bono claps his hand every second" joke now becomes "Bono claps his hand every third second".
Every 3 seconds is still FAR too much.
__________________
DaveC is offline  
Old 11-21-2007, 11:37 PM   #5
Blue Crack Addict
 
deep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: A far distance down.
Posts: 28,501
Local Time: 12:39 AM
Thanks for starting this thread.

I have put in a demand for a refund of two thirds of my donations.
__________________
deep is offline  
Old 11-22-2007, 12:04 PM   #6
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 08:39 AM
Too many people still have AIDS in Africa, even if they have blown up the figures.
__________________
verte76 is offline  
Old 11-22-2007, 12:21 PM   #7
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
BonosSaint's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3,566
Local Time: 04:39 AM
The danger in misrepresenting (whether intentional or not) is the loss of credibility. Suddenly what is still a horrific number seems less horrifying by comparison. Ultimately misrepresentation damages your cause.
__________________
BonosSaint is offline  
Old 11-22-2007, 04:27 PM   #8
Blue Crack Addict
 
Moonlit_Angel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: In a dimension known as the Twilight Zone...do de doo doo, do de doo doo...
Posts: 19,270
Local Time: 02:39 AM
Exactly.

And that's what I'm curious about, if this number screw-up was accidental (which I can see it being-when you're dealing with many, many people, numbers are more likely to be inaccurate), or if it was intentional? 'Cause if it was the latter, that's pretty stupid...like BonosSaint said, it really doesn't help your cause. Just be honest, and if you don't know exact numbers, say so and give a reasonable estimate.

Anywho, I'm glad to hear that the number's less than originally thought, that's certainly some good news. Hopefully this problem with the numbers won't be an obstacle in giving help to those who are suffering.

Angela
__________________
Moonlit_Angel is offline  
Old 11-25-2007, 06:43 PM   #9
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 06:39 PM
Some more good bad news
Quote:
IGNORE the fuss over the news last week — the United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency admits to overestimating the global epidemic by six million people. That was a sampling error, an epidemiologist’s Dewey Defeats Truman.

Look instead at the fact that glares out from the Orwellian but necessary revision of the figures for earlier years. There it is, starkly: AIDS has peaked.

New infections reached a high point in the late 1990’s — by the best estimate, in 1998.

There must have been such moments in the past — perhaps A.D. 543, when Constantinople realized it would survive the Plague of Justinian, or 1351 in medieval Europe, when hope dawned that the Black Death would not claw down everyone.

Eleven years ago, there was a milestone moment in AIDS history when Andrew Sullivan wrote an article in The New York Times Magazine titled “When Plagues End.” It argued that a new treatment, the triple therapy cocktail, meant it was finally possible to envision AIDS as a chronic illness, not an inevitable death sentence.

Naturally, he was, in his words, “flayed alive” by the AIDS establishment. An end in sight implied that vigilance could relax — although he hadn’t actually argued that.

Mr. Sullivan’s view was solipsistic. It celebrated hope for gay American men still reveling in their sexual freedom and barely mentioned the wider reality of newborn babies and faithful wives in Africa who were never to enjoy any freedoms and still were doomed to die miserably in numbers that would blast the exit doors off every gay bar in North America.

Now, out of the mists of the old data, another such moment has emerged, one for the worldwide stage.

The first thing experts are again quick to say is that it doesn’t mean anyone can relax.

More than three million annual new infections in 1998, or an estimated 2.5 million for 2007, “is not a particularly happy plateau,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, a discoverer of the AIDS virus.

Dr. Mark R. Dybul, the Bush administration’s global AIDS coordinator, added: “I don’t think it radically shifts our thinking, at least not for 5 to 10 years. We still need to prevent 2.5 million infections, we still need to prevent 2.1 million a year from dying.”


...



This does not mean that shrinking numbers are inevitable.

The disease is still rooting out new pockets; infections are rising in Vietnam, Uzbekistan and even Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most-populous country.

It can also lull its hosts into acting foolishly again; that has happened in San Francisco and Germany, Dr. De Lay noted, where new infections are ticking up again as young gay men revive the bar scene of the 1980’s.

And, Dr. Gallo warned, a mutation — a virus more easily transmitted or more drug resistant — could emerge. Epidemics traditionally move in waves; that could trigger a second.

Nonetheless, the new estimates mean the vision Mr. Sullivan had of the American epidemic is now possible for the global one: a day when AIDS is viewed as a chronic problem, another viral predator taking down the careless or weak members of the herd, as pneumonia takes down the old ones.

Also possible in the future — the very distant future, Dr. Dybul warned — is a day when the calculation I tried to do will have an answer that is actually affordable.

After all, even the Black Death is not dead. But it is cornered, and very cheaply. Its cause, Yersinia pestis, lives on in fleas and rodents, and there are about 2,000 cases each year, a handful of them in the American Southwest. But penicillin kills it.

Nothing yet kills AIDS. When that day comes, another rewrite of the epidemic’s history will begin.

Nonetheless, the disease is at last giving notice that it will behave like other pestilences.
link
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 11-25-2007, 10:28 PM   #10
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,494
Local Time: 03:39 AM
[q]Nonetheless, the disease is at last giving notice that it will behave like other pestilences.[/q]



and a vaccine is still 20+ years off.

don't whip off those rubbers just yet.
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 11-25-2007, 11:13 PM   #11
Blue Crack Addict
 
Liesje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: In the dog house
Posts: 19,557
Local Time: 03:39 AM
Honestly, I've always been more disturbed by infection rates in specific locales rather than the actual number of infected persons. In many areas, more than 50% (sometimes more like 80%) of people are infected. Infection rates like that are severely damaging to local economies, regardless of the actual count.
__________________
Liesje is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 01:26 AM   #12
The Male
 
LemonMelon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hollywoo
Posts: 65,805
Local Time: 12:39 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
The danger in misrepresenting (whether intentional or not) is the loss of credibility. Suddenly what is still a horrific number seems less horrifying by comparison. Ultimately misrepresentation damages your cause.
Which is a shame, because the cause is good.
__________________
LemonMelon is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 11:14 AM   #13
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,494
Local Time: 03:39 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
"Beyond Africa, AIDS is more likely to be concentrated among high-risk groups, such as users of injectable drugs, sex workers and gay men. More precise measurements of infection rates should allow for better targeting of prevention measures, researchers say."


not so in DC. is it so easy to write off, say, straight black people in the way that it is to write off drug users, prostitutes, and gay men?

[q]Study Calls HIV in D.C. A 'Modern Epidemic'
More Than 80 Percent Of Recent Cases Were Among Black Residents

By Susan Levine
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 26, 2007; A01

The first statistics ever amassed on HIV in the District, released today in a sweeping report, reveal "a modern epidemic" remarkable for its size, complexity and reach into all parts of the city.

The numbers most starkly illustrate HIV's impact on the African American community. More than 80 percent of the 3,269 HIV cases identified between 2001 and 2006 were among black men, women and adolescents. Among women who tested positive, a rising percentage of local cases, nine of 10 were African American.

The 120-page report, which includes the city's first AIDS update since 2000, shows how a condition once considered a gay disease has moved into the general population. HIV was spread through heterosexual contact in more than 37 percent of the District's cases detected in that time period, in contrast to the 25 percent of cases attributable to men having sex with men.

"It blows the stereotype out of the water," said Shannon Hader, who became head of the District's HIV/AIDS Administration in October. Increases by sex, age and ward over the past six years underscore her blunt conclusion that "HIV is everybody's disease here."

The new numbers are a statistical snapshot, not an estimate of the prevalence of infection in the District, which is nearly 60 percent black. Hader, an epidemiologist and public health physician who has worked on the disease in this country and internationally, said previous projections remain valid: One in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and 1 in 50 residents to have AIDS, the advanced manifestation of the virus.

Almost 12,500 people in the District were known to have HIV or AIDS in 2006, according to the report. Figures suggest that the number of new HIV cases began declining in 2003, but the administration said the drop more likely reflects underreporting or delayed reporting. A quarter-century into the epidemic, the city's cumulative number of AIDS cases exceeds 17,400.

"HIV/AIDS in the District has become a modern epidemic with complexities and challenges that continue to threaten the lives and well-being of far too many residents," the report states.[/q]
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 11:22 AM   #14
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tempe, Az USA
Posts: 12,856
Local Time: 01:39 AM
the key is circumcision.

dbs
__________________
diamond is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 11:24 AM   #15
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,494
Local Time: 03:39 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
the key is circumcision.

dbs


condoms work wonders, too.
__________________

__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com