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Old 06-09-2004, 06:43 PM   #61
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
Reagan did MORE for AIDS than people give him credit for at the time. I am not saying he could not have done more as President to lead on this issue, however, he is not getting credit for what he did do, which was quite a bit based on looking at the numbers of dollars he put towards it, at a time when there was very little medical knowledge to go on to fight this epidemic.
While I don't want to whitewash the people who didn't mention AIDS in public--I think that is shameful--it's worth keeping in mind that AIDS was not put in the official World Health Organization coding books until 1988. I should know, I was a coding student at the time! I can remember being in class, and being given a number, in the infectious diseases classification, that was the code for AIDS on charts. We wrote this in pen, in our new coding books, and started using the code shortly after this. For the record we didn't have antiretrovirals at the time. If you tested positive for HIV, that was tough, you were doomed in a matter of months. I remember filing charts for AIDS patients in a children's hospital. It was heartbreaking, and one of the reasons I eventually quit that job. I got very tired of those damn death certificates. Trust me I don't miss them.
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Old 06-09-2004, 06:58 PM   #62
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Thats's one thing that gets overlooked in retrospect, it was so new and unknown at the time, there wasn't much anyone could do with the technology and limited knowledge available at the time. Since it still hasn't been cured today with all we know, how could anyone have expected to stop it back then when we knew nothing? There was money given, but there was nothing anyone could do. It's tragic, but with a strain of virus so new you have to start from scratch. There is no miracle cure today and there was far less of a chance of one back then.
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Old 06-09-2004, 07:01 PM   #63
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AIDS has not been cured today because AIDS may never be cured. It is mutating too quickly for us to keep up with it.

From a research POV, Reagan totally dropped the ball, and so did other leaders in the 80s, which is why we have the virus spiralling out of control to this day. They missed their window of opportunity and failed to maximize containment when they had the chance.
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Old 06-09-2004, 07:32 PM   #64
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The thing that was getting the scientists at the time I was an allied health student was the fact that the HIV virus multiplied so damn fast. I never even took a class in microbiology or immunology, (hey, I was really proud of myself for passing freshman physiology) so my knowledge of it was always limited. But yes, they really dropped the ball on AIDS research, and for all of the wrong reasons. Jonas Salk was working on AIDS research and he said it was a much harder disease to work on than polio ever had, and it took him 17 years of research to get the first polio vaccine.
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:03 PM   #65
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From Reagan's Papers September 1985:

[Q][I]ncluding what we have in the budget for '86, it will amount to over a half a billion dollars that we have provided for research on AIDS in addition to what I'm sure other medical groups are doing. And we have $100 million in the budget this year; it'll be 126 million next year. So, this is a top priority with us. Yes, there's no question about the seriousness of this and the need to find an answer.[/Q]

and the State of the Union February 1986

[Q]We will continue, as a high priority, the fight against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An unprecedented research effort is underway to deal with this major epidemic public health threat. The number of AIDS cases is expected to increase. While there are hopes for drugs and vaccines against AIDS, none is immediately at hand. Consequently, efforts should focus on prevention, to inform and to lower risks of further transmission of the AIDS virus. To this end, I am asking the Surgeon General to prepare a report to the American people on AIDS.[/Q]



[Q]Fiscal Year ($ Millions) % growth over previous year

1982 8

1983 44 450.00

1984 103 134.09

1985 205 99.03

1986 508 147.80

1987 922 81.50

1988 1,615 75.16

1989 2,322 43.78


Total 5,727[/Q]


Almost $6Billion all together. Would it shock you to learn there was no other health issue, not even cancer, that received more money over his Presidency?

http://www.nationalreview.com/murdoc...0312030913.asp
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:39 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
and the State of the Union February 1986

We will continue, as a high priority, the fight against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An unprecedented research effort is underway to deal with this major epidemic public health threat. The number of AIDS cases is expected to increase. While there are hopes for drugs and vaccines against AIDS, none is immediately at hand. Consequently, efforts should focus on prevention, to inform and to lower risks of further transmission of the AIDS virus. To this end, I am asking the Surgeon General to prepare a report to the American people on AIDS.
This isn't from the 1986 State of the Union address. Rather it's from another separate speech delivered to Congress two days after the 1986 SOTU. Reagan never mentioned AIDS publically until 1987.

Transcript of 1986 SOTU
Transcript of speech given to Congress two days later.

And while all that money given looks significant, it was far less than the amount suggested at the time by people like C. Everett Koop and the National Academy of Sciences.

http://www.house.gov/waxman/issues/h...bit_4_6_87.htm
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Old 06-09-2004, 08:50 PM   #67
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It is significant when it is more than any other disease, unless I am wrong, which goes to show you not to believe everything you read.....

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So speaking before congress does not count as public?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kudos on the research!
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:11 PM   #68
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C. Everett Koop was my hero. He was brilliant, innovative, and gutsy, and I think I would have supported the guy for King.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:14 PM   #69
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How could it possibly have been contained? Take everybody who had it and lock them up? Monitor everyone's behavior and make sure they don't do anything risky? Impossible

At the time, there were cries for taking all the infected and doomed to a commune or something and lock them up to keep it from spreading. In those days we weren't sure yet what caused it and what didn't so everyone was afraid. Of course it was all written off as "hysteria" and ignored. Education was out there, pamphlets were being handed out, but risky behavior continued. Then it got into the blood supply. I've already posted about that.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:14 PM   #70
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Dreadsox, it may or may not be that cancer got more funding.

You have to understand something about cancer research - oftentimes when you apply for governmental (or external) grants, you are not applying directly to do cancer research. This is because cancer falls under the category of molecular biology/genetics and therefore is a lot more funded than people think.

My laboratory for example, is currently testing out some blockers, but the initial grant supporting them is not listed as a cancer grant, rather it falls under autoimmune research funding.

So when you see cancer funding, that may not always be telling you the whole story.

ETA another example: a lab a couple of floors down is almost entirely funded by Crohn's Society, yet they are working on colorectal cancer as well through that funding, so this is another way that you see cancer funding slip through the cracks when you add up the numbers.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:19 PM   #71
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Anitram,

During his tenure as President, no other health related funding was higher than AIDS in the "President's budget".


maybe Sting can somehow cross check this for me but i believe this to be accurate based on my readings tonight.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:24 PM   #72
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In my heart, I wish he had spoken out and acted sooner. However, he did act. I found this in my searching for info tonight:

[Q]REAGAN AND AIDS: The last couple of words. Here's an email from Bob Roehr, one of the best gay journalists who has long covered HIV:

To my mind, the important questions concern whether the role that the President plays or doesn't play has a long-term impact on the course of the epidemic. I think that in most cases it does not.

In the 1980s activists made the case that Presidential leadership, a greater sense of urgency, and the spending of more money could have a dramatic impact on the course of the epidemic. Their arguments were focused on "a cure" for those already infected, with prevention being a decidedly secondary note. From the perspective of time, and with different leadership and the expenditure of vast sums of money, it has become clear, at least to me, that the crucial issues with regard to a cure and an all-important vaccine are scientific ones that still have not been resolved despite applying all of that time, effort, and resources to them. I have little reason to believe that a different course of action by Reagan would have significantly altered the scientific state of knowledge. And those who continue to throw those charges against him only do that, they build no plausible scientific case.

The one area where leadership has made a difference in selected countries is in prevention activities, and the Reagan administration can be faulted there. BUT that was not the core of the activists' case against Reagan, it was the "cure." Furthermore, knowledge of HIV and how to avoid contracting it has been widespread within American society for a very long time, dating at least from the mass mailing by Reagan Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, yet people still continue to become infected. We all know that there is a very large element of personal responsibility in the transmission of new infections, a fact that too many activists continue to downplay.

If the activist case against Reagan were valid, then it would be equally valid to lay medical successes at the feet of the sitting President. When was the last time that Eisenhower got credit for the miraculous polio vaccine? The fact is, we give credit to those who actually do the work or significantly impede it. With the benefit of a longer course of history, it is clear that Reagan did little of either. I feel that the news coverage is largely justified.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I tend to agree. For the record: Reagan didn't give me HIV. Another gay man did, with my unwitting consent. I did practise safer sex, but it obviously failed. That is my responsibility and bad luck - no one else's. But it is equally true that Reagan's silence for so long was inexcusable. He was silent because he and Bill Bennett and Gary Bauer believed that gay lives were not worth as much as straight ones. There is no other explanation. If an epidemic had broken out affecting, say, elderly women, is it conceivable Reagan would have said nothing for four and a half years? Nope. In my practical defense of the Reagan administration, I do not mean to provide a moral defense. As even Jesse Helms came to realize, there is none.
[/Q]

http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php

And again, my only thoughts are the impression one would get here is that the President did nothing. Fact is, he started in 1985 by asking Koop to act. He spoke about it in congress in 1986. And HIS BUDGET put money towards AIDS more than any other health issue.
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Old 06-09-2004, 09:54 PM   #73
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The scientific community has this to say (you cannot read the articles in full as you need to either have access through a university proxy server or work in research and have passwords to get them for free):

Quote:
Feds defend AIDS policy as HIV rate increases among women worldwide. (Wash Memo Alan Guttmacher Inst. 1992 Jul 29;(12):3-4. )

Among other things, says:

A retired CDC official has claimed that senior staff selection and funding for family planning and AIDS have all been directed by the Reagan/Bush administration with an interest in politics and conservative morality, rather than public health. Members of Congress, the National Commission of AIDS, and HIV prevention advocates have claimed that the Executive branch is more concerned with politics than public health. The results of this year's international AIDS Conference (IAC) have indicated that education and prevention are still and will be the only known way of effectively dealing with AIDS. It is in these 2 areas that the Executive branch has been weakest.
Quote:
International behavioral responses to a health hazard: AIDS. (Soc Sci Med. 1990;31(9):951-62.)


Says:

The biology and epidemiology of AIDS require a coordinated attack, involving research on vaccines and drugs, modification of human behavior and education of populations to arrest the disease. All of these require money, of which the United States was the major contributor before the Reagan years. Funding to the United Nations and WHO has since languished, jeopardizing the AIDS efforts of those two organizations.
You may also take a look at Frozen in ice. Federal health policy during the Reagan years. (Health PAC Bull. 1988 Summer;18(2):4-7, 9-14.)

Quote:
AIDS funding: competing needs and the politics of priorities. (Int J Health Serv. 1988;18(4):521-41.)

Consequent AIDS-related resource crises include diverting funds for research on other diseases to AIDS investigations, propping up AIDS prevention efforts at the expense of traditional sexually transmitted disease control programs, and pitting the health needs of AIDS patients against the needs of those seeking other urgent health services, e.g., prenatal care. While this forced competition typically is blamed on fiscal constraints, examination of federal spending priorities suggests that it results principally from Reagan Administration policies. This Administration has consistently boosted military spending at the expense of social and health services, and has deliberately undermined efforts to obtain sufficient and new allocations for AIDS.
Look up Ignoring the epidemic. How the Reagan administration failed on AIDS. (Health PAC Bull. 1986 Dec;17(2):7-11.)

This is just scratching the surface. You can find dozens of articles on how the Reagan administration was a failure on AIDS. A search on positive views will leave you with pretty much nothing in the scientific community. In fact, I've yet to find one on PubMed thus far tonight and that should tell you something.
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:18 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox

So speaking before congress does not count as public?
Actually, on further review it looks like it was a paper issued to Congress, and not a speech. Even though it's listed in the Internet address as a "speech" going back a few levels actually shows that it's from a list of speeches and other papers.
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/resourc...1986/86feb.htm

From looking at other speeches and papers from that site, this reads more like a paper then a speech.


Quote:
Kudos on the research!
Thanks, but I actually got most of it from this blog.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:02 PM   #75
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anitram,

"This is just scratching the surface. You can find dozens of articles on how the Reagan administration was a failure on AIDS. A search on positive views will leave you with pretty much nothing in the scientific community. In fact, I've yet to find one on PubMed thus far tonight and that should tell you something."

What precisely does the "Scientific Community" say the Reagan administration would have had to have spent to be a "Success on Aids"? What is the political bias, if any, of the "Scientific Community"? How did the "Scientific Community" rate Bush Sr, Clinton, Bush Jr?

One of your articles sites the Reagan Administrations boosting of Defense Spending as an attack on Aids Funding. That is simply rubish and shows obvious political bias. If that was from the scientific and health community, perhaps someone should inform them of the effects of neglecting defense spending. The defense spending increases in the 1980s were an absolute necessity!
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