|Bush Policies Move Forward
Aug 27, 2008
This question may be a little off topic, but since Bush policies are mentioned/come into play quite frequently I reasoned I'd mention it. Are you encouraged that president Bush has ended restrictions on the status of HIV+ immigrants and travelers, not to mention the huge push in funding for HIV aid/research abroad?
Response from Dr. Frascino
No, your question is not off topic. In fact, I've addressed this multiple times over Dubya's eight-year Reign of Error. I'll repost a sample from the archives below. (There is much more if you care to delve into the archives.)
Dr. Bob you are a whiner !! Jun 20, 2008
I always here you bitching about how the current president is battling the HIV epidemic, but compared to 90% of the world it seems to me that we are doing well. We have all the top therapies available, we have great doctors, we research the virus and provide other continents with antiretrovirals, what more do you want. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, maybe I'm wrong, if I am can you PLEASE let me know what more can be done?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Rather than "whiner," I would prefer "faultfinder," because I find great fault and ineptitude when it comes to "W." In fact, medically we would diagnose him with "cranial-rectal inversion," which, of course, means he has his head up his butt. As for your comments:
1. "We have all the top therapies available." That "we" doesn't include those on waiting lists for the ADAP (AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs). And poz folks may have difficultly accessing any drug therapy if they are one of the 50 million Americans who are uninsured or the additional 25 million who are underinsured.
2. "We have great doctors." Again, great doctors can't help if you can't afford them or the therapies they prescribe.
3. "We research the virus." Not nearly enough! Progress could and should be much faster, but is limited by Bush's budgets, ban on stem-cell research, and the $5000.00 per second he is wasting on the Iraq debacle.
4. "We provide other continents with antiretrovirals." Giving credit where credit is due, Bush has made some progress in this area. Too bad he attached so many completely unreasonable strings to the aid. One third of the funds have to be used for abstinence-only sex prevention programs. (See below).
Now let's turn back to Bush's domestic HIV/AIDS program. Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget proposal would reduce funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers the Ryan White Program, by $1 billion from fiscal year 2008 levels! In addition, he calls for renewing the ban on city funding for needle exchange programs in Washington D.C. HIV experts agree the U.S. efforts to combat HIV/AIDS at home are uncoordinated with no national plan for comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and support. Approximately half of the people in the U.S. who need HIV treatment are not receiving it due to a variety of factors (uninsured, underinsured, etc.). The number of new HIV infections each year in the U.S. has not decreased in over a decade, despite the fact HIV is now a totally preventable illness. This proves our prevention efforts are woefully inadequate. I could continue finding fault with Dubya's handling of the domestic response to HIV/AIDS, but I'm sure you would probably just consider it excessive whining instead of further elucidation of Bush's blunders. Consequently instead I will merely reprint below a small sample of additional comments from the archives.
Thanks for the "God Bless!" Ever wonder if the higher powers bless Dubya in light of his views on capital punishment, torture, the Iraq debacle and his inadequate response to HIV/AIDS? However, to bless or not to bless is not up to us, but pointing out Dubya's blunders certainly is!
HIV/AIDS Fight Remains High Priority for United States? Feb 27, 2008
Take a look to this statement http://www.america.gov/st/health-english/2007/May/20070522175313atiayduj0.4688532.html and tell us what do you think about it, is it true? I think that we are lossing the battle against VIH/AIDS, but then I remember your words "be positive" at all, just wait and will see that God has mercy for us.
Youve helped me in the past and now I read your posts everyday, is better than the newspaper. Regards.
A big fan. E.L.
Response from Dr. Frascino
The truth is that Bush's much-lauded Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has succeeded on some levels by providing life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to some of those in need in selected countries. However, PEPFAR's abstinence-focused prevention programs have put many more lives in jeopardy. How does one judge a policy that sustains lives by providing treatment to some, but then promotes increased HIV-infection rates (and ultimately increased HIV/AIDS deaths) by insisting on policies that sabotage prevention? Under current policy one third of all PEPFAR money allocated to HIV prevention is specifically dedicated to abstinence-only campaigns often run by Bush's evangelical allies. These programs have been proven in study after study to be ineffective. HIV activists have spent the last two decades trying to show that condoms aren't just for prostitutes and the promiscuous. Bush has essentially undone much of this work!
Bush's record on combating the HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S. can be added to a long list of his spectacular failures. From his waste of billions of taxpayer dollars on ineffective abstinence-until-marriage sex education programs to his failure to allow funds to be used for needle-exchange programs, which have been proven to reduce HIV infections, to his yearly budget cuts for HIV prevention and treatment programs, his legacy in this arena, like so many others, is one of failures with tragic consequences. The CDC will soon be revising the rate of annual new HIV infections in the U.S. from 40,000/year to 60,000/year! "You're doing a heck of a job, Bushie!"
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