Editorial: HIV Super Bug and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction
February 15, 2005
On Friday, February 11th, The New York City Health Department, with strong support from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Dr. David Ho, alarmed the public health world at a massive press conference announcing the "discovery" of a "super strain" of HIV.
The New York Health Department called it "a public health emergency." The CDC sent a press release around the country alerting all health departments about this "critical and urgent new information."
Here's a fact: The material they presented was actually partial results of a preliminary investigation of one case of a rarely transmitted strain of HIV possibly resistant to some drugs in three of the four classes of drugs used to treat HIV.
The direct result of this press release, backed up by the government, has been fear and calls for action against gays and people with HIV. Right winger radio hosts are even calling for quarantining people with HIV.
Here's another fact: This is NOT NEW NEWS. In 2001, The CDC sent out the following press release about a super-bug of HIV:
The new "superbug" is as well documented as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The "superbug" is not new, not super, not widespread, not demonstrably increasing in number and certainly not an immediate crisis.
It is a type of virus written extensively about 7 years ago, rarely transmitted and the fact it is drug resistant is no surprise to anyone. According to Dr. Douglas Richmond of the University of California, San Diego, approximately 13% of new infections are multi-drug resistant.
There are better reasons for responsible state health departments to hold press conferences. Some reasons include:
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Opinion Pieces in Response to Detection of Rare, Drug-Resistant HIV Strain
In Response to Reported Case of Multi-Drug Resistant HIV in NYC, HIV Prevention Leaders Urged a Clear and Targeted Public Health Response, Increased Resources for Primary HIV Prevention and Continued Collaboration With Medical Providers
This article was provided by Search for a Cure. It is a part of the publication Reasons for Hope.