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Author Topic: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"  (Read 2474 times)

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Offline leit

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The second coming of AIDS
In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home


PAUL VARNELL
Friday, November 28, 2008

LET ME TELL you three stories.

First story. One of my best friends, a middle-age man with whom I worked on AIDS issues in the 1980s, sent me an e-mail several months ago saying that he had recently tested positive for HIV. He acknowledged that he was extremely embarrassed to be confessing this fact: The message we had all promoted then - as now - was to have only "safe sex" and to use "a condom every time."
"I must have neglected to use a condom," he said simply.

Second story. I was at my local grocery store during the late summer when I ran into a casual friend I've known from the bars, a man somewhere in his late 40s, I'd guess, and we stopped to chat. He said he recently found out that he was HIV-positive, which he confessed surprised him. "I thought I was safe because I was exclusively a top," he said. "But apparently not." I gathered that he was already taking an antiviral combination, which suggested that his T-cell count was low, so he may have been infected some time ago.

Third story. A good friend, an older man, told me that early this fall he had his first HIV test in several years and was surprised to learn that he was HIV-positive. Not only that but his T-cell count had sunk to the 100-150 range, clearly qualifying for an AIDS diagnosis.

"I did what I considered 'safe sex' and assumed I was uninfected. I never had any symptoms that I recognized as being HIV-related," he told me. "But then I noticed that I was getting tired easily and wanted to take naps throughout the day. I thought that was just a function of getting older, but evidently not."

WORLD AIDS DAY will be observed on Dec. 1. Do I care about AIDS among people I do not know and will never see or meet? Only marginally. What I do care about is gay men in the U.S., in my city, in my neighborhood. In short, I care about my friends, present and potential. Anyone who cares as much about total strangers in foreign lands as he does his friends and people in his own community has a strange idea about the value of personal relationships.

I lived through the first wave of AIDS, 1981-1996. I lost a lot of friends during that time. Suddenly, it feels as if I am beginning to live through a second wave of AIDS infections - not necessarily resulting in deaths this time, at least in the short term, but decisively altering people's lives.

When people's T-cell levels decline to a certain point, they have to begin an anti-viral drug regimen that involves taking one to four drugs every day at the same time every day. If they travel, they have to pack their drugs and make sure nothing interferes with their drug regimen. They have to do this for the rest of their lives. And some of the drugs have inconvenient side effects, from nausea or wooziness to diarrhea to unpleasant dreams. But taking the drugs is better than not taking them.

It seems vitally important to remind people that AIDS is still a threatening presence in the gay community. I have read estimates that 20 percent of those infected do not know it. I have seen no statistical support for that estimate and I am sure the number is far higher - 40 percent? Fifty percent? Recall that the Centers for Disease Control acknowledged not many months ago that for years it had underestimated the number of people annually infected with HIV by more than 40 percent.

EVERY YEAR, EVERY day, young gay men come out and begin engaging in sex. They may think they are invulnerable, they may be heedless, or they may never see a safe-sex message or have had the term "safe sex" spelled out for them. When I have visited bathhouses or back-room bars, I have seen people of all ages and ethnicities engaging in unprotected sex. Clearly, safe-sex messages have lost their impact or are not reaching them in a persuasive fashion.

Many people seem to care more about AIDS abroad than in the U.S. President Bush has sponsored billions of dollars in funding to prevent AIDS in developing countries, but said little about AIDS in the United States. Some evangelical churches are involved in helping to combat AIDS abroad, but show no interest in AIDS in the U.S. It seems clear that they are interested in helping heterosexuals abroad, but want nothing to do with homosexuals in the U.S.

So it continues to be up to us.


http://www.washingtonblade.com/2008/11-28/view/editorial/13651.cfm


Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 12:37:12 PM »
Quote


It seems vitally important to remind people that AIDS is still a threatening presence in the gay community. I have read estimates that 20 percent of those infected do not know it. I have seen no statistical support for that estimate and I am sure the number is far higher - 40 percent? Fifty percent?

Here in NYC, 25 percent of the City's infected are not aware they're infected. Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/11/30/2008-11-30_a_new_memorial_for_world_aids_day.html

If someone told me "oh it's higher than 25 percent in NYC honey" I wouldn't be surprised considering the widespread 'negUB2' mentality ..... it fails frequently in a city of 8.27 million people

Offline hotpuppy

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 11:19:52 PM »
I think we all see the same things..... I'm appalled by some of it.

A friend told me about a recent visit to a bathhouse.  He met this hot guy in the sauna, who proceeded to suck him off.  The encounter proceeded to get more physical and the guy stopped sucking him and put his ass in the air indicating he wanted fucked.  My friend obliged, as is the custom in the sauna at the baths.  After a few minutes they decided to go to the bottom's room and finish business.  All of which is pretty normal.  As they resumed in the guy's room, my friend tells me they kept right on screwing.  After about 10 minutes the guy asks, "You are safe right?" 

WTF!?  Since when do you hop on someone's cock and ask later if it was safe?  As long as Neg guys think this is safe behavior and that they have no responsibility but to enjoy the ride, there will continue to be infections.  Some may choose to look down on the baths, but frankly if you are going to have safe sex that's the place to do it.  The condoms are free, they are every damn place, and they sell lube down stairs.  The only way it can get more convenient is if they put the condom on you and lube your trick for you. 

And I'm sure if you ask nicely some of the attendants would happily help.

I personally practice pre-emptive disclosure.... except at the baths where it's caveat emptor ( better known as buyer beware aka you are on your damned own and should assume everyone is poz there).

That is not the first time I've seen or heard about that sort of behavior.....
Don't obsess over the wrong things.  Life isn't about your numbers, it isn't about this forum, it isn't about someone's opinion.  It's about getting out there and enjoying it.   I am a person with HIV - not the other way around.

Offline a2z

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 12:55:12 PM »


Many people seem to care more about AIDS abroad than in the U.S. President Bush has sponsored billions of dollars in funding to prevent AIDS in developing countries, but said little about AIDS in the United States. Some evangelical churches are involved in helping to combat AIDS abroad, but show no interest in AIDS in the U.S. It seems clear that they are interested in helping heterosexuals abroad, but want nothing to do with homosexuals in the U.S.




I've always though this bit of helping people in Africa smacks of a bit of racism, in such a way that liberals and Christian Conservatives come together on it.

First, I don't think there's anyone of us who wants anyone, anywhere to have AIDS.  Giving resources to help an economically-disadvantages area of the world is the right thing to do.  But the underlying message I get from Christians is "We helped fight AIDS too.  We helped those innocent, ignorant savages, while letting the fags and druggies pay the price of God's will!"  If you get AIDS in the US or any other civilized, "Christian" nation, you must have done something to deserve it.  If you just followed God's law you would be okay.

I am not actually Christ's spokesperson, but I'm pretty sure he'd be nauseated by many of his followers.  God may be that cruel, but I doubt it.

And some far-lefties just want that "feel good" feeling.  "I solved a problem elsewhere, and I don't have to watch anyone at home die of it."

Not only do I think that more money should be spent locally (wherever that is for you) in fighting HIV and AIDS, but that investing more in AIDS research is the best way to help everyone around the world.  Whether it is as something as simple as a formulation of Norvir you don't have to refrigerate, or as wonderful as a shot you only have to take once a week.  In the long term that's the way I think it has to be fought.

Sorry.... that just hit a hot button of mine.  I'm not a big fan of bumper sticker(red)
Dates are blood draw dates:
5/23/14: CD4 895 --.-% VL UD - Truvada/Isentress
09/21/09: CD4 898 27.0% VL 120 - back on track, same meds.High level enzymes, but less so
06/15/09: CD4 478 21.8% VL 1150 - high liver enzymes... looks like I may not be resistant
05/22/09: Fixed insurance, resumed medicine
04/17/09: Ran out of medicine, could not resolve insurance problems
04/01/09: CD4 773 28% VL 120 - high liver enzymes
12/01/08: CD4 514 23% VL 630
10/17/08 started Reyataz, Norvir and Truvada. -- possibly minor neuropathy, but otherwise okay.
9/10/08: CD4 345 17%, VL > 78K
8/18/08: CD4 312 18%, VL > 60K (considering meds)
12/19/07: CD4 550 28% VL > 100K (no meds yet)
Diagnosed 10/23/07

Offline leatherman

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 01:28:38 PM »
And some far-lefties just want that "feel good" feeling.  "I solved a problem elsewhere, and I don't have to watch anyone at home die of it."
you're probably right about that too. ;) recently a friend gave me a book by Anton LaVey to read. (my Baptist father was surely turning over in his grave as I read a book about Satanism  :o LOL) One of the essays was about how people will say/do things to feel that they have earned a "good guy badge/award" for doing something "good". (Unfortunately, oftimes they don't actually follow through with actions to give credence to being a "good guy" though; but they still feel as if they did the deed just for talking about it.) I think the people you mentioned use that same rationalization to believe they've done their part to "fix" the problem, and probably feel pretty good about what they've done, having "earned" their good guy award.

Whether it is as something as simple as a formulation of Norvir you don't have to refrigerate
in another thread, someone mentioned this bit of information that I hadn't heard anywhere yet.

"Abbott Study Shows Investigational Heat-Stable Norvirģ Tablet Provides Similar Drug Levels to Current Norvir Capsule"
http://www.abbott.com/global/url/pressRelease/en_US/60.5:5/Press_Release_0645.htm

http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/hiv_norvir_tablet_2211_15142.shtml
Quote
In fact, side effects were similar among the HIV-negative volunteers participating in the current study. Headache, nausea, dizziness and diarrhea were the most common, but they occurred in less than 10 percent of participants with no significant differences between those taking Norvir capsules and those receiving Norvir tablets.
I just hate my norvir gel cap! The refrigeration thing doesn't bother me (it's cold enough in Ohio for nearly half the year that storing it isn't a problem. LOL); but it's the frequent side effect of throwing up from it (when the gelcap bursts and there isn't enough food in my stomache) that I hate.

Quote
Abbott plans to request approval of the Norvir tablets in the United States and European Union before the end of the year, likely making it available in 2009.
I for one will be very hopeful/glad to see the norvir tab come out sometime next year ;D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 02:52:46 PM »
Quote
I for one will be very hopeful/glad to see the norvir tab come out sometime next year Grin


You and me both!

Of only someday I could enjoy grapefruit juice again....
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 04:16:00 PM »
I've never had a Norvir gel cap burst in my tummy -- that really happens?
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline aztecan

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2008, 08:54:27 PM »
I've never had a Norvir gel cap burst in my tummy -- that really happens?

You betcha (sorry, couldn't help myself).

I have to have a full meal with my Norvir or I suffer the consequences.

As for the news story by Paul Varnell, these sorts of stories are heard way too often these days. On World AIDS Day we spent much of the day at a local community college offering free testing, information, condoms and an educational program.

Many of the people I tested told me they had received no safer sex information from anyone, even though most had some idea that condoms were a good idea.

One of the women went from being very low risk to very high risk by simply asking a single question. She had no idea the repercussions of the activities and partners she had been associating and having sexual encounters with.

These were college age kids, all more than 18 years of age and many in their 20s.

None knew how how HIV is treated. Many had little information on how it is spread and some had a learned a bunch of misinformation.

I know the people in Africa are suffering. But, I fear we are setting ourselves up for a second or third wave of HIV here in the U.S. because of our blithe communal ignorance coupled with apathy.

As for the religious right, those people are scary. Period. I trust them not.

HUGS,

Mark

« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 09:03:10 PM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2008, 09:21:22 PM »
You betcha (sorry, couldn't help myself).

I have to have a full meal with my Norvir or I suffer the consequences.

Well, there's your problem Miss Thing.  Read the label and it indicates food is needed.  In fact, hasn't EVERY gel cap in HIV history required food?

That said, I often take mine up to an hour or so after eating but I figure there's food in my tummy still.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline leatherman

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 09:27:04 PM »
a quick norvir hijack  ;)
I've never had a Norvir gel cap burst in my tummy -- that really happens?
you never had one sit out long enough (on a warm day) before taking it, that swallowing it would cause it to burst it in your esphogus? Count your blessings. LOL That's an pretty instant puke-inducer - and since I take mine with food, that's never a pretty sight. (the videx that I take in the mornings make me barf sometimes but since it's on an empty stomach first thing in the AM, I usually just barf some bile, or have those awesome dry heaves.)

(plus that is just what a gelcap does. It dissolves in your stomach. At some point, liquids and your stomach acid wear down the gel, and that lovely liquid comes gushing out, flooding into your system. But the gelcap delivery is mucho better than the days of taking norvir with a spoon. That stuff had to be THE nastiest-tasting med in the world!)

I've just found that if I don't have enough food in my stomach (ie Mark's "full meal") when I take norvir, within 10-20 minutes I'll be able to tell you when the norvir capsule dissolves. I'll get flushed, start feeling sickly and fatigued, and will throw up within 45mins (no matter how hard I try not to). A snack, a sandwich, etc is just not enough. I've taken to eating large-ish dinners (at only 130lbs on an avg day a big meal for me is about half what a restratuant serves - but I always have a doggie bag full for a midnight snack ; ). I eat half the meal, swallow my meds, cram the other half done, and pray that it's going to be a good night for the norvir. Anywhere from 6-10 times a month, it's bad night. :(

Of only someday I could enjoy grapefruit juice again....
some med I was taking in the early 90s was anti-grapefruit so I've stayed away from years though I did sneak a couple Frescas (carbonated grapefruit based beverage) over the yrs. LOL

But, I fear we are setting ourselves up for a second or third wave of HIV here in the U.S. because of our blithe communal ignorance coupled with apathy.

another thread posted recently (by amanda, who was featured in the salt lake tribune) had this quote from the article, by Kristen Ries a University of Utah professor and HIV clinic director http://www.sltrib.com/ci_11108888?IADID=Search-www.sltrib.com-www.sltrib.com
Quote
But with successful treatments have come new problems.

Progress, Ries said, has bred complacency. The U.'s clinic is seeing a resurgence in infections among people in their late teens and early 20s. Some see the disease as no big deal, easily treatable. Others simply feel getting infected is inevitable.

"Older gay men are actually really upset about it because they lived through everyone dying and losing all of their friends," Ries said. "They don't understand the young people who think, 'Oh, you just take a pill -- no problem.'?"
America has obviously wearied of the Aids Epidemic, unfortunately too soon since the epidemic started and long before a solution could be found, and has instead found solace iin sending dollars to help in other countries. Yes, I too fear for the next wave.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Dachshund

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 09:10:15 AM »
And some far-lefties just want that "feel good" feeling.  "I solved a problem elsewhere, and I don't have to watch anyone at home die of it."

Ah yes, that feel good conspiracy of the far left to divert attention of HIV at home by funding treatment in Africa. What an absurd statement. As an old commie myself I have no love for Bush, but the man does deserve some credit for focusing attention on the devastation AIDS was and is having in Africa. You think the world has problems now, allowing AIDS to continue to ravage the African continent would be disastrous for the rest of the world. By any measurable standard PEPFAR (look it up) has succeeded in bringing life saving treatment to millions. A program proposed by Bush and then shepherded through the Republican Congress by their leadership. Not by those lefty feel-gooders you prefer to blame. I think the education aspect of PEPFAR (abstinence only) stinks, but getting meds into the hands of the dying is money well spent.

In fact it's the mouth breathing right that continues to block funding for health care, AIDS research, and education right here in the good ol U.S. of A.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 09:18:09 AM by Dachshund »

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 09:30:55 AM »
A program proposed by Bush and then shepherded through the Republican Congress by their leadership. Not by those lefty feel-gooders you prefer to blame.

The impetus of which was to cater to the Rick Warren's (& wife) of the US to make them feel less culpable in ignoring the domestic AIDS situation over the past 2 decades.  Let me know when Dubya pays a PR visit to DC's Whitman-Walker clinic and pulls a Princess Diana compassion dance.  With 1 in 20 inhabitants infected with HIV Bush is already been living a Namibia-ish environment for the past eight years.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Winiroo

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 09:52:52 AM »
Norvir hijack

I typically take mine right after a bowl of cereal. I can tell roughly when the gel cap has busted. My teeth, tip of my tongue and sometimes tip of my nose has a tingly numb feeling. It doesn't last long but it is an odd sensation.  It is not intolerable but definitely odd.


On the subject. I get my meds from the government. You have to report your earnings and it has to be under a certain amount and you have to jump through various hoops but I am taken care of.  I may not actually see a real doctor and the clinic I visit is not plush but I am not billed for their service.

I have noticed the difference in reporting of persons in Africa with HIV and persons in the US.  I had not put much thought into it before but the media does make persons in Africa seem like victims and persons in the US typically are spoken of or seemingly thought of with less sympathy if they are an adult or gay.

Some people may think "well, they where asking for it" or some people may ask "what was that guy/girl doing in a dark alley at three in the morning in a bad part of town anyway?"
I know some people do things or act in ways that indanger thier health and make them more apt to get a disease but some people dont. That complicates things.  Its shouldnt but it does.
Most people will automatically make judgements. We even do it to each other often We being persons who are positive. I'm not sure why but we do.

Ok, I'm rambling now....

Offline Dachshund

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 10:04:12 AM »
I doubt anyone familiar with my posting history could deny my loathing for Bush, conservatives and the religious right. In fact if I could have my way they would all be interned in reeducation camps cutting sugar cane in Cuba. ;)  However, for some to suggest that providing treatment to Africa is some leftwing conspiracy orchestrated to divert attention from Aids here at home, appeasing liberal guilt is ludicrous.

That said, there is no denying that the meds provided through PEPFAR (strings attached and all) has certainly saved lives.


Offline thunter34

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2008, 11:49:47 AM »
And some far-lefties just want that "feel good" feeling.  "I solved a problem elsewhere, and I don't have to watch anyone at home die of it."

Ah yes, that feel good conspiracy of the far left to divert attention of HIV at home by funding treatment in Africa. What an absurd statement. As an old commie myself I have no love for Bush, but the man does deserve some credit for focusing attention on the devastation AIDS was and is having in Africa. You think the world has problems now, allowing AIDS to continue to ravage the African continent would be disastrous for the rest of the world. By any measurable standard PEPFAR (look it up) has succeeded in bringing life saving treatment to millions. A program proposed by Bush and then shepherded through the Republican Congress by their leadership. Not by those lefty feel-gooders you prefer to blame. I think the education aspect of PEPFAR (abstinence only) stinks, but getting meds into the hands of the dying is money well spent.

In fact it's the mouth breathing right that continues to block funding for health care, AIDS research, and education right here in the good ol U.S. of A.

Not to sidetrack this too much, but I just have to ask:  What exactly is the big problem with simply using the quote function like everybody else?  Why does it have to be this fancy-schmancy italics deal?  I love your post, but I have no idea most of the time who you are referring to and in what post, and if I should forget I have to go through all the effort of having to try to fish it out all over again.  Not to mention that when anybody like me quotes YOU, it puts their other words in with yours in one big blur...albeit still in fancy italics.  It's extremely tedious and annoying because it's just so darned unnecessary.  I just don't get it.  It makes following the flow of the thread more difficult for everybody else, and it comes off like you're trying to look extra impressive or like a "Matty, Part Two" or something.  Other than that little peeve of mine, your assessment is of course spot on. 

And to the Norvir bunch, I am with you.  I've attempted a few times to skate by on a negligible snack and have suffered mightily for it. 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 11:51:26 AM by thunter34 »
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Joe K

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2008, 12:16:32 PM »
I am not going to get into any discussion about AIDS in Africa, because that is not what this article is really about.  The sad reality is that the US has allowed its own citizens, to die from complications of AIDS, because they could not get medications through any of the state programs.  Every year, people die, right here at home, because our government is too fucking cheap to adequately fund HIV services and treatment.  Our Congress is a spineless body that would rather kowtow to their constituents, than to insure that every American with HIV, at least has access to the drug necessary for our survival.

How in hell you can all argue about AIDS in Africa, when our own community, is literally dying, is beyond me.  Needless to say, this is an extremely sore point for me.  For the past 7 years, HIV/AIDS funding in the US has remained level at best and given the increase in the infection rate, has actually declined, given the higher number of people who now need meds.  We can spend $700 billion bailing out our industries, but cannot find $300 million dollars, which would make such an impact.

Each year, on AIDS day, I mourn my friends lost to this plague, but the memories are always tainted, by a present that shows we still have a very long way to go, to provide access for the drugs we need.  One of the only times I am ever ashamed of the US, is when I look at how our community is treated.  Richest nation on earth, hardly, when we can toss a couple of billion for an election, yet refuse to adequately fund life saving services for our own citizens.

So might I suggest, we forget the Norvir sidetrack and maybe discuss ways that we can increase the funding we need, right here at home, to save our friends and loved ones.   

Offline Punxsie

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Re: "In push to help those in Africa, we've neglected the epidemic at home"
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2008, 05:16:39 AM »
I have a sad theory that 'mainstream' whatever that may mean, is much happier supporting people who are far away, be it Africa or wherever,  be it for health, food or housing etc. Doesn't bring the 'threat' too close to home or cause inconvenience to nice white middle class lives.

 


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