Sunday, May 9, 2010

Study tracks HIV

Study tracks HIV

There are some interesting points made on this subject, points of escalation and despair once one is diagnosed with HIV. In listening to Richard Brown on CKOM, there were also some interesting points drawn towards the sinking hole that is poverty and the average drug user, but there is one thing that I found missing in all of the analysis around this topic:


Five years ago, the needle "exchange" program changed such that more needles were being handed out on the premise that more needles = less sharing = less new cases of HIV. The law of unintended consequences kicked in, and as such, OOPS, more cases occurred rather than less. What the study doesn't eliminate, or doesn't eliminate in the news release, is whether all of these new cases attributable to injection drug users that were already in Saskatchewan, or if it included ones that moved to Saskatchewan. Regardless of the answer to that question, the study is also showing that giving MORE needles has nothing to do with reduction of HIV cases.

Now, the other thing that the article is attempting to do is to link new cases of HIV to poverty. The implication is pretty clear - If we give these people more money, then they will make better choices and care more about themselves and others. Of course, the law of unintended consequences says that if you give these people more money, they will just turn around and make MORE bad decisions, which will likely have the effect of hastening their demise.

Hmmm. Maybe that thought has merit after all. Of course, there IS another option, which includes neither giving them more money OR more needles. We can... wait for it... give them a counseling session every time they show up for needles - no exceptions. Maybe then they will clean up and change their life - they might even start going to work more often in order to pull themselves out of the crippling poverty they currently find themselves in.

Of course, tough love in the form of regular drug tests in order to get welfare benefits might also be in order, but then, what do I know.

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