Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Public Health needs more tact and smarter people

Maybe it's just me, but when I got this announcement in my CDC inbox today I was pretty weirded out. The subject reads:

Reminder-- Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the First Reported Cases of AIDS

followed by this graphic:
Why does this bother me? First of all, it looks like a big company's Fourth of July barbeque invitation-- 25 years of great service! Second, snippets of the American flag appear FIVE times throughout the poorly-constructed collage-- once suspended in front of [gasp] SKYSCRAPERS. I don't know about you, but the little seizure induced by such imagery reminds me that my government protects me and that I am safe.

What is the most bothersome, however, is that AIDS wasn't called AIDS until late 1982. Prestigious medical journals and newspapers [The Lancet, The New York Times] were calling it Gay Compromise Syndrome, Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, and Community-Acquired Immune Dysfunction. The CDC finally suggested and stuck with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in September of 1982.

Also, the HIV virus was first linked to a group of AIDS patients in 1984. But is this cutesy patriotic banner supposed to make me forget that when Dr. Mason of the CDC said

"I believe we have the cause of AIDS."

he was referring to the French virus isolate, LAV, and he was basing his opinion on the findings made in the preceding weeks by the researchers at the Pasteur Institute who had discovered the virus the previous year. The very next day, the infamous Dr. Gallo reported he had isolated the virus that caused AIDS, called it HTLV-III, devised a rapid test for it, and slapped a on big fat patent. As it turns out, LAV and HTLV-III are the same virus, the one the International Commitee on the Taxonomy of Viruses didn't officially dub HIV until May of 1986.

So while all these grinning federal weenies are blowing up their AIDS balloons in time for their totally innacurate and meaningless party date, you'll find me taking a leisurely crap in Dr. Julie's billion dollar koi ponds.


Accidentally Disastrous said...

I like to picture those four people on the banner in a lab somewhere. Three of them look on pensivley as the fourth works at a computer terminal. He turns to face them his grim visage slowly changing into a smile as he looks each of them in the eye and says proudly, "Congratulations...we've got AIDS."

MertMengelmier said...

Oh that's good AIDS, that is good good good. Next they will have national "Rape = AIDS = Awesome" day and all the georgetown kids will party like it's, erm, well they'll be drunk.

Mackenzie said...

And stay tuned for the next CDC sponsored event:

3000 years of CANCER!

This is fucked, Lena. For many of the reasons I told you on the phone. First of all, why is this a celebration when they haven't fucking found a way to actually treat it. Furthermore, I think the flags are ridiculous. To me they say, "AIDS, an all American disease." And really, we all know it's African...and gay.

Mert's got a good idea too. We can change the name of rape juice (aka jungle juice) to AIDS juice.