How We Lost the War Against AIDS

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The Latest in the War Against AIDS

16 Million Needless Deaths

President Trump’s proposed budget marks a dramatic and frightening turning point in the war against AIDS.  The budget includes a 20% cut in funding for PEPFAR, the very successful AIDS initiative launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.  A recent New York Times article indicated that the proposed cut would cost about a million lives.  That was a one-year estimate.  If we assume the cut is permanent, and that other countries follow the American lead, then we will lose the war against AIDS.  The effects will be catastrophic in human terms.  Up to 16 million people may die by the year 2030.

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Projecting the Future of the AIDS Epidemic

In a companion blog, I pointed out that the long-term effect of President Trump’s proposed cuts in PEPFAR funding will be much larger than the estimated one million lives discussed in a recent New York Times article.  If the 20% cut is permanent, and other countries follow the American lead, then up to 16 million people may needlessly die of AIDS-related causes by the year 2030.  Predicting the future is always uncertain, especially when dealing with the medical, social, economic, and political complexities of the AIDS epidemic.  So let me explain where these numbers come from.

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Austin Candlelight Memorial

Austin proudly boasts the claim of having the longest running AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service in the State of Texas.  Unfortunately, the weather this year prevented the event from happening.  I had been invited to be one of the speakers, addressing national and international issues related to the AIDS epidemic.  I had prepared a mildly theatrical presentation, hoping to both entertain the crowd and draw attention to the critical decisions that will be made in Washington this year.  After Sunday’s cancellation, I recorded what I had planned to say.

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Another Movie About AIDS

Why make another AIDS movie?  We’ve had several good ones:  And the Band Played On, Philadelphia Story, Dallas Buyers Club, a South African one that I particularly like, Life, Above All, and many others.  So why make another?  The main reason is that the AIDS epidemic has faded from the public consciousness. 

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