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Government Underestimates Number of Americans With AIDS

August 04, 2008 04:23 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The CDC announced that the number of Americans contracting AIDS each year is 40 percent higher than previously stated.

30-Second Summary

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A new blood test for the AIDS virus and new statistical methods indicate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate of how many Americans are contracting AIDS each year has been off by more than 16,000 people. CDC director Julie Gerberding said “this is the most reliable estimate we’ve had since the beginning of the epidemic.”

But others feel that the new information indicates a governmental lapse in addressing America’s own health issues. Julie Davids, executive director of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, called the new estimate “evidence of a failure by government and society to do what it takes to control the epidemic.”

There have been rumors about the new numbers since December of 2007. The CDC refused to confirm that its estimate had been low, although a few papers had already reported on the revision. “We hope that this is not yet another instance of the Bush administration’s suppression of information that could be damaging to their image,” Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told Reuters.

The new information was announced just after Congress passed a bill allocating $48 million in AIDS relief to Africa. The new statistics will likely cause the government to focus more attention on solving the national health crisis, rather than sending money abroad.

Meanwhile, the 17th International AIDS Conference is underway in Mexico City, with pharmaceutical companies playing a primary role. But author Helen Epstein says, “you can’t fight AIDS without medicine, but you also can’t fight AIDS with medicine alone.

Headline Link: CDC revises AIDS statistics

Background: Evolution of CDC analysis

Related Topic: Fighting the AIDS epidemic

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