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What planet is he living on?

Dec 6, 2003

I am sorry, but I have to respond to the person who thought too much was being spent on HIV/AIDS research.

This person does not realize that as we become ever more global, and travel continues to be necessary and desired by all populations - that this disease without borders, becomes even more prevalent in all nations - not just the developing ones.

It is in humanities best interest to continue to fund - yes heavily - HIV/AIDS research. The means for curing latent HIV (the hidden viral elements that can spring up later) - locating, targetting and delivering therapy to kill off latent HIV, will also likely hold the key to targetting hard to treat pockets of cancer cells and other now fatal diseases. Wouldn't it be wonderful if in the next 5 years, significant breakthroughs in medical detection, targetting and delivery systems on the molecular level, could be programmed and easily delivered to any person? Think of the countless numbers of people that would benefit from all walks of life, and for many different types of disease. I have an autoimmune disorder (crohn's) now for 25 years. There is no cure, and research now indicates that I am more susceptible to lymphoma and other effects of this disorder. I personally welcome all advances in immune system medical research, as I beleive these will have offshoot benefits for everyone in the future.

For the long term survival of humanity - the money spent now for this research (and advances are truly being made every year)- no matter how much - is a very small price to pay. Think this is an exaggeration? Check out the figures for the world on HIV infections. It could get worse. Like everything in life - it is usually less costly to "fix" something early on versus trying to pay for long term care for what could become hundreds of millions in the coming decades.

You may wish to rethink your philosophy. We can't look only at the bottom line cost, this is not only short term results, but short sighted. We must look at the long term benefits, again the cost will be a lot less to find more effective treatments and hopefully a cure than it will be for treatment for countless millions in the future.

If you can't reconsider your thoughts and conduct more research into this subject on your own, you may fare better on the planet you developed your thinking on and should return. This one has a crisis on its hands, and hopefully we will see a Nobel prize winning entry in the next few years that can resolve it.


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello M,

Let's hope he reads your reply! Thanks for writing in! I'll repost his question below for our readers.

Dr. Bob

Too much money for AIDS research-- Posted: Nov 21, 2003

It is clear that AIDS is a relatively minor irritant in the overall scheme of things. I understand that someone who has HIV is anxious for the disease to be controlled or eradicated, but (1) retrovirae are not eradicated and (2) the most fruitful results in terms of control are to be found through good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy mental outlook, all of which are cheap. I read your account of the side effects you have encountered from protease inhibitors. How many people can afford plastic surgery anyway? Not many. We can't all feed from the trough. As a doctor, you should be concerned about your patients as well as the public. Is the public being served by having a disproportionate amount of money on a virus that affects a very small part of the population?

Dr. Bob's response:

Hello, "Too much money for AIDS research"??? "AIDS is a relatively minor irritant in the overall scheme of things????" "Is the public being served by having a disproportionate amount of money spent on a virus that affects a very small part of the population???" "As a doctor, I should be concerned about my patients as well as the public???" Perhaps the best way to respond to your annoying and ignorant question is to merely post a few facts, and ask you to reconsider your opinion:

1. HIV/AIDS is the worst infectious disease catastrophe since the bubonic plague decimated a quarter of Europe's population in the 14th century.

2. Every 10 seconds, someone in the world dies of AIDS.

3. 42 million people are infected; only one million are presently receiving treatment.

4. By 2010, there will be 20 million AIDS orphans worldwide and more than 100 million people infected with the virus.

I'm quite amazed that the magnitude and devastation of this human tragedy can still be met with such apathy and referred to as a "minor irritant"!

"The most fruitful results in terms of control are to be found through good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy mental outlook???" Really??? While outlook, nutrition, and exercise are certainly important to anyone's good health, I'd have to say antiviral drugs are the critical factor in controlling HIV disease progression in those of us who are cohabitating with the virus.

As for my "concern" for patients and the public, I am the founder and President of a tax-exempt charitable organization, The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, whose sole mission is to provide crucial services for men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through advocacy and education. To date, The Foundation and I have raised over $800,000 for AIDS service organizations around the world. ( And tell me kind sir; while I've been busy combating this "minor irritant," what have you been up to? Dr. Bob

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