In last night’s non-debate among Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton got the biggest applause line of the night: “If H.I.V./AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.”
She continued, “If we don’t begin to take it seriously and address it the way we did back in the ‘90s, when it was primarily a gay men’s disease, we will never get the services and the public education that we need.”
These are superb applause lines, well targeted to her audience. The insinuations behind them, however, are damnable lies.
A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so here’s four thousand worth drawn from presentations by the Kaiser Foundation and the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS:
AIDS Trends - U.S. Federal SpendingAIDS Trends - International Resource Devotion
AIDS Trends - International Retroviral TreatmentAIDS Trends - International Trends 25 Years
You can click on the images above for full-size slides but the shrunken form is sufficient to see the trends. They depict: US Federal Funding for AIDS Care FY 1995-2004; Total Annual Resources (Internationally) for AIDS, 1986-2005; Number of People on Antiretroviral Therapy in Low- and Middle-income Countries, 2002‒2005; and 25 Years of Responding to AIDS.
The trends have been moving steadily and dramatically upward during the entire period. President Bush, in particular, has emphasized spending on curing AIDS in Africa (hint: there are black people there).
Could we be spending more? Probably. Are we failing to spend money because the “wrong people” are afflicted with the disease? No.