A Solution For AIDS

In the wake of the pan-continental epidemic of AIDS, protestors and many affected directly or indirectly by the disease, claim the United States’ exhortation to fight it and fund treatment is dwindling; they claim the U.S. is marginalizing groups for their involvement in spreading AIDS, and making it a matter of decreased prioritization.

The AIDS virus has had its run.  It has decimated portions of populations, still plaguing countries with no discrimination against developing or underdeveloped countries, hurting families of the infected and its perpetuating cycle of life will surely leave more dead in its midst.  Why are we not making this disease a national effort? Why does this microscopic army have the upper hand on humanity?

Having had a family member succumb to this treacherous condition, I know its inevitable potential for destruction given the opportunity of expansion.  Beginning with symptoms that appear relatively normal, then obliterating the host’s immune system, it rips holes in communities, holes that have negative individual and national implications.

It has been speculated that lack of human capital stemming from the AIDS rampage has annihilated the Gross Domestic Product of sub-African countries, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Nigeria, being some of the most hard-hit.  It has devastating repercussions on the labor force, demolishing the working, taxable class of laborers.  The human capital has plummeted and the market fails as a result.

Without a stimulated economy constructed on the backs of a thriving labor source, any growth and expansion is inevitably halted and any steps forward in terms of progress are steps in the opposite direction.

The costs related with facilitating medical care to enormities of infected in developing countries places an irreconcilable financial burden on the country.  With lack of healthcare in these countries, the unfortunate bear the brunt of this ruthless disease; the countries suffer likewise, as health care expenditures remain unmet for treatment of AIDS.

Many families, regardless of class, race and socio-economic background, cannot afford the health-related costs to house a relative infected with the AIDS virus.  This medicinal burden prevents them from “pumping money back into the economy;” medical bills comprising large amounts of familial expenses pile up, keeping them from exercising fully-fledged consumerism and spending money that benefits economic growth and advancement.

As an American citizen who is reasonably informed about legislation and politics, my sentiments stand adamantly on the grounds that there is not a lot of AIDS recognition given; this disease has been placed on the backburner of American politics, being equitably addressed but denied priority.

It is an issue so profound and monumental that has evaded our grasp for so long, that we, as citizens and politicians, have absolutely no idea where to start to begin reclaiming ourselves from this disease that is killing us not just as individuals, but as a national and economic entity.

Another reaction the virus has evoked is that of fervent discrimination and reprimanding of drug users, “sex workers” and trans- and homosexual couples; an elicitation of heated public debate.

I cannot find common ground with this aspect of the AIDS argument..  The prejudices and contempt that plague society and turn the masses against the marginalized minorities coincide with the renowned Buddhist proverb:  “holding onto anger [in this case, against minorities] is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one that gets burned.”

This prohibition of entrance into America on the basis of disease draws often times false assumptions that these people will intermingle with the uninfected population with the intention of procreating or sharing substance paraphernalia, i.e. needles, syringes.

These generalized perceptions should be quashed and replaced with societal education on AIDS.  The infected and the uninfected alike should be educated in safe sex practices and the dangers of engaging in activities involving the use of communal needles.

 

“We should have meaningful dialogue on sex workers and men who have sex with men, with transgender people and also with drug users. The legislation I introduced will do just that. It is an important step in the right direction, but during this conference we need to discuss the prohibition and discrimination that still exists,” Barbara Lee Boxer said.

Not enough attention is given to this touchy subject, and its long-term effects will cause surmountable harm to the population and nation.  Its importance cannot be politically undermined any longer; increased awareness and education is a critical facet to winning this microscopic war of global proportions.

 

Sarah Gray Isenberg is a third-year comparitive literature and literary jounrlaism double major. She can be reached at sisenber@uci.edu.