"Most public health people think that the ends justify the means" is how Florida International University's Bill Darrow explains why it was okay for Randy Shilts' publisher to completely over-bake the idea of Gaëtan Dugas being the "Patient Zero" of HIV. Everyone at the time knew this wasn't possibly a true idea, that one handsome flight attendant was responsible for hopping around the globe, spreading HIV. Yet the idea stuck. And apparently everyone is okay with it, and besides, he was dead anyway by 1984, and couldn't sue for libel. But anyway, that's actually not really how public health people think? Public health policy people are level-headed and statistics-oriented. [...]
"'We mostly saw it as an African problem, and a little bit as an inner-city American problem,' he said. 'Nobody ever talked about it as a disease among Yale students and staff.'" —Bless you and all, but I'll probably never recover from that quote, Christopher Glazek, Yale '07. Still! Glad to hear there are future plans to help colleges make note of what is apparently still, somehow, unspeakable and unthinkable.
You know who are actually American heroes? The 26 people arrested yesterday in support of needle exchange legalization. Obama's platform has always been pro-needle exchange, but when he submitted the budget back in May, it still included the old language banning spending on needle exchange. The White House's last statement was that they wanted to handle this legislatively and also to build public consensus on needle exchange. Since then: nada. And that is extra-stupid: public health is way outside the realm of man-on-the-street approval ratings. There are 20 years of needle exchange studies and that the White House is back-burnering this is outrageous-and way more outrageous than [...]
Who says there's no job security in media? Everyone says that, because it's true. But there are inspirational exceptions. Meet 94-year-old San Francisco Chronicle science reporter David Perlman, who cranked out 111 articles last year and continues to work full-time at the paper. He still loves his beat and his desk is in a sunny corner of the Chronicle newsroom, so there's no reason to quit working now.
After all, he said over a burger at a South of Market dive near Chronicle headquarters, "I'm doing exactly what I wanted to do all my life, be a reporter."
I didn't know that we were done with the old AIDS, but I guess our short attention spans mean we always need something fresh.
· AIDS Vaccine "Important Step" Against Disease (Reuters) · AIDS Vaccine Trial Offers Hope (The Advocate) · For First Time, AIDS Vaccine Shows Some Success (New York Times) · HIV vaccine breakthrough (Sydney Herald) · Vaccine Shows Promise in Preventing HIV Infection (Wall Street Journal) · Scientists Puzzle Over Minor Success Of AIDS Vaccine (Washington Post)
Oh wait-sorry, what's that, Washington Post? "The results were barely significant on statistical grounds, perplexing for scientific reasons and unanticipated by most researchers."
Regarding the World Health Organization raising its pandemic level to "OMG OMG FREAK OUT" level this afternoon, Rod Townsend notes: "Can you imagine if they had reacted in such a manner to AIDS? There would be art and music and fashion in the world. And Miley Cyrus would be working at a McDonald's in Branson, Missouri."
It’s easy to look at our media industrial complex and forget that its members were once young and hungry, that they had to hustle, grease sources and report stories within an inch of life. One can imagine these scrappers delirious just to see a byline buried on B4 or, God forbid, a sidebar. They sammy glicked their way through the newsroom. No one exited the womb a star.
Even so, these people seem to exist only in the ever-present. We see Juan Williams as Hannity’s graying foil—who sold out for the change in Roger Ailes' pocket—but not the guy who, in 1987, churned out a gorgeous profile of a [...]
Did you enter the competition to design the AIDS Memorial Park in the "upper West Village," at what they call "St. Vincent's Triangle"? Did you pay that $50 entry fee, in the hopes to win the big $5000 prize (and, you know, design a park)? Well, you did not win. And neither did anyone else who entered, because Rudin Management, the developers, hated them all, even the rather lovely design chosen by the jury. They will be sticking with their extremely dull own plans. (The memorial has a classic New York history, with lots of angry community board meetings; if you want to dive [...]
The Clinton Foundation announced today they'd gotten those monsters at Pfizer and Mylan to lower the cost of some drugs for TB and HIV in the "developing world" to just, in the case of TB, $1 a dose. (That'll go over really well in countries like Haiti, where the average individual income is something like $1 or $2 a day.). But still-something that should have happened actually happened!