AMERICA Ailing from the Plague of Male Dominance! - Why & How Males Have Degraded the Country!
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In , the government planned a 10 per cent reduction in Aids spending. By then, hundreds of thousands of Americans had been infected with HIV, 36, had been diagnosed with Aids, and 20, had died. It also officially prohibited HIV-positive people from crossing its borders, a ban that only expired in in January , about to visit New York, Jarman was advised by his doctor to take his medication out of its packets, to avoid detection. In Britain, after an initial spurt, overall funding for the war on Aids was gradually reduced. The Aids brief passed from the health secretary to a junior minister in the Lords.
Aids education, placed on the national curriculum in , was removed by We prayed for a day when the disease struck someone who mattered, prayed for a weaponising of Aids. Hudson had lived his life in the closet and hidden his condition until shortly before his death, vigorously denying rumours that turned out to be true. He had flown regularly to Paris for experimental treatment denied to his fellow citizens at home.
To be heard, you had to be dead, and a movie star, and a friend of the president. Our continued existence depends on just how angry you can get … Unless we fight for our lives we shall die. In all the history of homosexuality we have never been so close to death and extinction before. Many of us are dying or dead already. In a sign of the times, its first president, Paul Popham, was in the closet. Its work included organising a helpline, fundraising, distributing informational literature and, France goes on:.
Callen and Richard Berkowitz were both diagnosed in with what was still being called Grid. They were patients of Joseph Sonnabend, a specialist in infectious disease once responsible for sexual health at the New York Department of Health, who now ran a general practice for gay men in the city. It is likely that thousands of HIV infections were averted. But for more than half of all the gay men in both cities it was already too late.
On the whole, I believed in democracy. I believed in America.
I felt it would only be a matter of time before education and the de-stigmatisation of gayness would bring me my rights. But now I am fighting for my life. Not only is my government unwilling to grant my right to love whom I choose, my right to be free from job discrimination, my right to the housing and public accommodation of my choosing. This same government — my government — does not appear to care whether I live or die … You can be sure that ten, five, or even one year ago, I could not have imagined the possibility that I … would be up here begging my elected representatives to help me save my life.
But there you are. Here I am. And that is exactly what I am doing. A few weeks later, he was part of a group that stormed the stage at a conference of lesbian and gay health workers in Denver, and read out the 11 points of what became a manifesto for the rights of people with Aids. The Denver Principles marked a shift towards a new form of activism, one that put pressure on the scientific and medical establishments on which the wreck or rescue of so many lives depended. Am I going to die anyway?
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On the contrary, there had been a series of major breakthroughs, especially between and It was established that the virus could be transmitted via semen, vaginal fluid and blood. Gallo went on to develop a test, which was available in multiple countries by But there progress seemed to halt. In early , the first drug licensed for use in treating patients with HIV for their underlying condition became available.
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AZT was believed to prevent the virus from replicating itself. Its early Phase II trials had followed the traditional method: half the cohort was given AZT, and the other half a placebo. The trial was abandoned when, after only a few weeks, 23 of the placebo group had died, compared to only three of those on AZT. The surviving placebo recipients were then put on AZT too, and showed remarkable improvement. There were still several causes for concern: AZT was extremely toxic, with a daunting list of side-effects so toxic that many Aids patients would later be unable to take it safely ; it was also time-limited in its effects, seeming to peak in usefulness after four months.
But these were not enough to prevent it being rushed into production, with a bare minimum of clinical testing. The demand for the life-extending — life-saving? In other words, they had done the minimum amount of work possible. No matter.
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At the same time as information about the success of the human trials was released, Burroughs Wellcome was listed on the London stock market. Many policies had annual or lifetime caps well below that figure. Not only were other potential treatments for the virus neglected; there was an even more troubling failure to focus on the drugs capable of treating the secondary conditions that Aids patients actually died of: 24 opportunistic infections accounted for 90 per cent of all deaths. No trials were planned. People went on dying.
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It soon had spin-offs across the US, as well as in London and Paris. And they had a nice line in slogans:. Publicity was wielded, sometimes bluntly, in the pursuit of specific policy aims. It wanted an end to drug trials that used placebos, as well as to trials that demanded patients give up any other drugs they might be taking including even prophylaxis against PCP. With options so limited, and with death the only alternative, drug trials were healthcare, as another Act Up luminary, Jim Eigo, liked to put it. Act Up also wanted more drugs trials; many, many more.
In they discovered that 83 per cent of the Aids patients enrolled in trials were involved in studies evaluating AZT; only 25 people were enrolled on trials evaluating other drugs. In the absence of alternative licensed treatments, Callen and Sonnabend had in helped establish the PWA Health Group, which privately manufactured and sold a promising compound called AL, reported to have a positive effect on T-cell counts. Aids patients were losing a race against time. The strategy began to pay off. It also accepted the conclusions of a trial into the use of aerosol pentamidine as a prophylaxis for PCP carried out by Sonnabend and his Community Research Initiative, another first.
Soon , people were on the medication. Some things stayed the same: the manufacturers of pentamidine, Lymphomed, immediately raised the price. There were more victories to come:. Bethesda in was like Berlin in They had conquered.
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In , despite its recent successes,. Act Up was numbed by loss and exhausted from a frantic schedule of activism … On every front, the country remained stubbornly indifferent to the epidemic and its targets. Hospitals in every major city were full to overflowing. Research was as chaotic as ever. Drugs that the NIH had called promising in remained untested five years later.
The co-ordinating bodies were in disarray.
Meanwhile, the epidemic was gathering pace: in America, there was a new HIV diagnosis every minute, and four Aids deaths an hour. By , , Americans had died of Aids, double the number killed in Vietnam. A further 42, US deaths were predicted for , 50, for In , the WHO reported , Aids cases in Europe, a massive underestimate only cases were claimed in the Russian Federation ; over half of them were already dead. In the same year, the Concorde study into the effectiveness of AZT, which followed nearly two thousand patients from England, France and Ireland over a three-year period, reported its conclusions: the drug that had for years dominated research agendas and blotted horizons for Aids patients, swallowed up the vast majority of public funding and produced enormous profits for Burroughs Wellcome, made no long-term difference to survival.
Concorde, in defiance of Act Up principles, had maintained a placebo cohort: these patients were more likely to have survived the three years of the study than the ones taking AZT. It was a devastating discovery. It showed that Act Up had been right to protest at the focus on AZT to the exclusion of other drugs, but it also suggested that their emphasis on fast-tracking drugs to market to the possible advantage of pharmaceutical companies selling little more than fresh hope and avoiding control groups at all costs was mistaken.
It also made an end to the epidemic seem much further away.
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In an epilogue to the paperback of his book, printed in , Garfield ended on a miserable, angry note:. Surveys of young people suggest that Aids is a problem of the s. Voluntary organisations report that the general public are less willing to donate money. Every week there are more funerals, more memorials.
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And each day clinics dispense more bad news to young men and women, but mostly men. The end of the Aids crisis is more recent than we choose to remember; just as it was much closer than Garfield or anyone else in the mids realised. Several pharmaceutical companies had been quietly working on a promising new line in HIV antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors, intended to interrupt the replication process. Patient had begun taking a drug called Crixivan in ; his viral load shrank over the next two years until it was undetectable.