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Archive for May, 2006

LGBT for Straight People. Which would you rather have? The flu or HIV?

May 12, 2006 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay EducationThe folks at CNS News, whose purpose is to provide us with information that the liberal media withholds, are questioning the amount of money spent on HIV programs versus the amount of money spent on influenza.

CNSNews.comThe federal government spent $6.1 billion on influenza-related programs in 2006, less than half as much as the $13.7 billion dollars it spent on HIV/AIDS programs that year, according to figures provided to CNSNews.com by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

During the same time, seasonal flu claimed 56,326 lives in the U.S., while AIDS-related deaths stood at 12,113.

If you read the entire article, you will realize they are saying “Why are we spending more on a disease that kills fewer people?” Let’s look at where this money is used. But before we do that, let’s see what the readers on CNS had to say about this article. Please note, I have copied and pasted this directly, including errors.

moriarity at 04:11 AM – May 07, 2009

Gee, now I know what “The San Francisco Treat” means!

Jack Kinch(1uncle) at 01:37 PM – May 06, 2009

Do you suppose ‘Big But Barney’ had anything to do with this?

Elblogo at 01:04 PM – May 06, 2009

This should show Americans where Congresses priorities lie. The Gay and Lesbian Community are agressive and obnoxious and that may be the only way we can get our government attention.

astrosmom at 12:24 PM – May 06, 2009

There needs to be even MORE funding for HIV and AIDS research. Forget about the people who die from the flu. They are usually heterosexual and elderly. It is our young, pretty homosexuals that need to live and thrive in our society. Everyone should turn gay or bi so that you can have your needs taken care of. It’s all about you.

Let’s see if we can help moriarity, Jack Kinch, Elblogo and astrosmom understand where the money goes and why. After all, don’t you think that straight people ought to be able to get facts straight? I do.

HIV Spending

In the 2007 Federal Budget, a total of $18,856,000 was spent on HIV.

  • $13.2 billion was spent on care for people with HIV. This represents 70% of the budget.  This includes very costly medications as well as medical care.
  • $2.1 billion was spent for housing assistance.
  • $0.956 billion was spent for prevention. This represents 5% of the total budget.
  • $2.6 billion was spent on research. This represents 14% of the total budget.

Influenza spending.

This information comes from The Department of Health and Human Services.

Yearly Allocation as of December 31, 2008

  • Vaccines……………………………………………………….. $3,196,000
  • Antivirals………………………………………………………. $1,122,000
  • Medical Supplies……………………………………………. $162,000
  • State and Local Preparedness…………………………… $600,000
  • International Collaboration………………………………. $179,000
  • Other Domestic Activities……………………………….. 280,000
  • Risk Communications……………………………………… 51,000
  • Total, HHS……………………………………………….. 5,590,000

Now that we have some numbers, let’s do a little comparison:


Prevention spending for HIV is just under $1 billion. Vaccines are also prevention. The US government spent over $3 billion to help support vaccine production. This is on top of what the pharmaceutical companies spend themselves and the amount of money spent by insurance providers to cover the cost of vaccination.  The prevention for the spread of HIV? Education, abstinence and the use of condoms.

“Every year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.”

Using these numbers, let’s do some calculations. Let’s assume a worse case scenario. Let’s assume that 5% of the population gets influenza and this results in 36,000 deaths. This calculation shows the highest mortality rate.  If we assume that the U.S. population is 300 million, five percent of this number is 15 million. 15 million divided by 36,000 =  0.24% of people infected with influenza will die. Most of us will use rest, liquids and staying home to get better. Some people might be given an antiviral such as Tamiflu. In other words, most people who get the flu will live. It isn’t fun. But for most of us, it will be gone in one to two weeks and we will go back to our lives. Am I trivializing influenza with all the talk of a possible worldwide epidemic? Not on your life. This year is very different. But no amount of research would have prevented the possible impending epidemic. That is because flu viruses mutate rapidly and those mutations cannot be predicted. Every year, a lot of tracking and research is done to identify which strains of flu will be the worse and those are chosen for vaccine production.

Unlike the flu, HIV is for life. Every single person diagnosed with HIV must take costly medications for the rest of their life. Medications that have side effects. Medications that do not prevent transmission of the virus. There is no cure. There is no vaccine. Without medication, these people will die from prolonged, horrible deaths. I suppose the folks over at CNS would like that, as that would reduce what we as Americans are spending on HIV by $13.2 billion dollars.

So what about HIV? The number of deaths are lower, that’s a good thing right? So is the epidemic over? Here’s what the CDC has to say:

The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States Is REAL-Get the Facts!

Before we can stop any epidemic, we first have to recognize the magnitude of the disease. HIV is still a threat across the United States. And even though there are treatments to help people with HIV live longer than ever before, AIDS is still a significant health issue. Surprised? Get the facts:

  • Every 9½ minutes (on average), someone in the United States is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • In 2006, an estimated 56,300 people became infected with HIV.
  • More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.
  • Of those 1 million people living with HIV, 1 out of 5 do not know they are infected. (People who have HIV but don’t know it can unknowingly pass the virus to their partners.)
  • Despite new therapies, people with HIV still develop AIDS.
  • Over 1 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with AIDS.
  • More than 14,000 people with AIDS still die each year in the United States

So who has HIV?

Estimated Number of New HIV Infections, by Transmission Category, 2006

Estimated Number of New HIV Infections, by Transmission Category, 2006

Yes, the majority is still men who have sex with men, but just by a slim margin. A whopping 31% are heterosexuals. Perhaps just as scary, far more cases occur in the black and Hispanic communities, where there is still stigma and a lack of the ability to reach these individuals.

Estimated Rates of New HIV Infections, by Race/Ethnicity, 2006

“Nonetheless, rates of HIV infection in the United States are unacceptably high, and far too many persons at risk are not yet being reached. For example, a CDC study of gay and bisexual men in 15 cities found that 80% had not been reached by the intensive HIV prevention interventions that are known to be most effective. And the high rates of infection among young people highlight the urgent need to reach a new generation with prevention services. ”

To help ensure that all persons know their HIV serostatus, CDC recommends that everyone in the United States aged 13-64-regardless of perceived risk-get tested for HIV to help stop the spread of this disease. In addition, CDC recommends that sexually active gay and bisexual men be tested for HIV at least once a year.”

Now we know where the money goes and why. This is where geekgirl gets to speak from her scientific knowledge and human soul. Am I suggesting that because only 0.24% of people will get the flu that we shouldn’t care or shouldn’t put more money into the prevention of influenza? Of course not. That argument is just as stupid as when people say “gay people are only 2% of the population so why do they matter?”  Diseases are not contests of numbers of people, nor are they contests for judging the people who contract them. Everyone can get HIV. Everyone can get influenza.  Both have some preventive measures. None of the preventive measures are foolproof. We can’t compare the amount of money spent to the number of deaths. What we can do is ask how that money is being spent and advocate for the best use of that money or more money if needed.

If you are looking for facts, real facts, I highly recommend that you go right to the sources that are credible. The Centers for Disease Control, brought to you by your tax dollars, contains excellent information on both HIV and influenza.