TAINTED BLOOD, MISTAKES BY A FUTURE CHIEF JUSTICE, AND THE MARGINALIZATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

by Harold Pollack

I published a piece in the New Republic today examining America’s failures in HIV prevention.

AIDS has already killed more Americans than the combined total of combat deaths in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Despite treatment advances, the deaths keep coming. In 2006, the most recent year with good records, we lost 14,627 of our fellow citizens to this terrible disease. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if our government, our most heavily affected communities, and our entire society had mobilized more quickly and more effectively.

From the very beginning, social conservatives often showed palpable disregard for the main victims of this epidemic. So it is easy to chalk up our failures to the simple cruelty of social conservatives. Such cruelty was certainly terrible, but it was not the only problem. Our continuing failure to execute public health interventions was also lethal. Public health is almost always treated as the disfavored stepchild of the biomedical enterprise. In AIDS, this has brought especially tragic results....

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