Wednesday will mark the culmination of President Obama's first 100 days in office, and he's done a lot: passed a massive stimulus package, ordered the closure of Gitmo, made a momentous change in travel policy to Cuba, had some pirates shot, and got a dog named Bo. Though, one area where he's moved noticeably slowly is in his policy on HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, this tends to be an area his predecessors have moved slowly on as well, if at all. Just because it's a gigantic, worldwide epidemic that we've been dealing with for over 20 years now doesn't make it any less of a gigantic, worldwide epidemic, you know.
Obama's action has been so pathetic that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation will begin airing this one minute ad (above) challenging the President to get a jump start in the area. You can personally voice your concern by visiting their website and sending a friendly message to the President. It's not totally true he's done nothing, though. He did launch "Act Against AIDS," which basically amounts to a flashy PR campaign touting prevention. And his decision to fund Stem Cell research may pay off in HIV/AIDS treatment, but it's hard to say when and how he'll take on the full issue in a direct way.
Of course, part of this problem may be that he hasn't yet been able to
place a Secretary of Health and Human Services in office. Now, when
Kathleen Sebelius is approved by Congress, her first order of business
will likely be dealing with this pesky swine flu.
Luc Montagnier, who recently won the Nobel prize for discovering the virus, says that a therapeutic vaccine could be possible in three or four years with enough funding.
Other possible treatments are being examined, but most could use a
serious influx of cash. Meanwhile, many people with HIV struggle to
afford the available treatments. The current cocktail of drugs, while
quite pricey, elongate life, possibly to a natural span, while greatly
reducing the chance of transmission (better care is entwined with
Underlining the need for better access to
treatment, and more advancements is that it was reported this month
that 3% of residents in Washington, DC, the nation's capitol no less,
are living with HIV/AIDS. The highest incidence of the virus in a city
was previously thought to be, you guessed it, right here in Miami.
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Approximately 1.5% of our population has been reported to be infected.
may be unfair to nitpick at a president's first 100 days, but this is
an issue that has been asked to wait too often for too long.