Serious Interlude: AIDS Isn’t Over

Commentor Keith G posted on Xmas Eve:

There are a handful of places that, aside for holiday decor, continue to do what they do without regard to seasonal festivities.

A hospice is one such place.

Today we did what we do. We provided a warm and caring place for a family to gather as their loved one died – which she did at 9:13 AM. With hugs and tears we comforted the family and they in turn comforted us. The heartfelt thanks from everyone of the family was the best present I could think of receiving.

Later on, we sat down to share a pork loin roast (brined with my special recipe), dressing, wild rice, and greens.

Tomorrow back at the hospice which is located in an historic home built in 1919. A grand holiday buffet will be provided to staff, residents and families by a local gay bar (we are a nonprofit serving patients who are fighting AIDS).

Which reminded me that I hadn’t posted a link to Harold Pollack’s piece at the Washington Monthly

AIDS Is Still with Us, Still Taking Too Many Lives
Overshadowed by the tragedy in Newtown and the fiscal cliff farce, CDC’s latest report–Estimated HIV incidence in the United States: 2007-2010–didn’t get the attention it deserves…

Recent news is not very surprising. It is not especially good, either. An estimated 47,500 Americans became HIV-infected in 2010, about the same number of new infections as occurred in 2007. An estimated 29,800 of these infections occurred among men who have sex with men. MSM are the main risk group which demographically replenishes itself. As a result, MSM now account for more than 60% of all new HIV infections in the United States, and about 78% of all new infections occurring among men. The epidemic has already burned through the majority of injection drug users and several other groups facing particularly high risks.

It’s especially concerning that HIV incidence is growing among adolescents and young adults. In 2007, 13-24-year-olds accounted for 20 percent of new infections. By 2010, this age group accounted for 26 percent of new infections. Among MSM, 30 percent of new infections occur among those under the age of 25. HIV prevention through behavior change remains a huge challenge. (On Twitter, @jejunebug takes me to task for not noting the marked race/ethnic disparities in HIV incidence, with African-Americans accounting for 44% of new infections. Fair point. This indeed a very serious concern.)…

America’s $2.8 trillion health care economy will never give public health the emphasis it deserves. The political economy of this sector will always favor concentrated patient and provider constituencies who benefit from acute care investments over the relatively disorganized, low-income, and often politically marginal constituencies who benefit the most from HIV prevention and other investments in public health. The results are fairly predictable. That does not make them any more acceptable….

4 replies
  1. 1
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    (On Twitter, @jejunebug takes me to task for not noting the marked race/ethnic disparities in HIV incidence, with African-Americans accounting for 44% of new infections. Fair point. This indeed a very serious concern.)

    I’d say that is worth more than a “fair point.”

    And sadly, he’s right about the health-industrial complex.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    It would be good if some black sociologists could study this situation and see why AIDS is growing disproportionately among black people. What is different from the population at large?

    ETA:
    I said “black sociologists” because the investigators would probably have to ask some very nosy questions and this way perhaps the answers wouldn’t be colored by any race-based misunderstandings.

  3. 3
    shortstop says:

    Thank you for what you do, Keith G. I have the greatest respect and admiration for hospice employees. They have touched my own life and grieving processes in incredibly important ways.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @shortstop:

    I have the greatest respect and admiration for hospice employees. They have touched my own life and grieving processes in incredibly important ways.

    Yes indeed. My dad died in home hospice care. The nurses and other caregivers were just extraordinary. It’s been 18 years but I’ve never forgotten their compassion and professionalism.

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