In the 1980s, HIV/AIDS was a virtual death sentence. People were dying by the thousands and there seemed to be no stopping the deadly virus. However, in the last 40 years, drug therapy--a combination of pharmaceuticals often called a “cocktail”--has proven to keep people not only alive, but living relatively normal lives. Despite the successes in drug therapy however, there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS. Millions, perhaps billions, of dollars have been spent pursuing a cure. Some people argue that too much money is being spent on this goal, while other diseases are being neglected. Should funding for AIDS research be cut to allow more money for research into other fatal diseases?
I live in California, not far from San Francisco. I do think more funding needs to be granted to AIDS research. Why haven't we eradicated this problem yet? Most of the people that need treatment can't afford it. We need something cheaper and more effective.
My problem with funding is that nobody really knows where it really goes. The reason why I say this is because, regardless of the great achievements that have been reached in the medical field, we seem to be quite far from finding cures, and not medicines, even in this technologically-advanced world.
Each time I see these fundraisers being held, or how some foundations grant money for research, etc, I see that millions are collected among those who donate..so, where are the cures? I am about to become a skeptic and join the "crazy folks" who believe that all cures have been found but that the government makes more money out of pushing medicine on people than out of a vaccine.
I want to see HIV/AIDS eradicated. I want to see cancer, especially, done and over with. When one has lost loved ones to one or the other, like in our case, it is understandable that we become enraged at what we look at as a lack of action. I know that finding the cure of a disease is like finding a needle in a haystack. There will be many more years until we find the next cure for whatever. Hence, aside from my personal views, yes, funding should always be provided. Let's just pray that it goes to the right source.
That there should be funding is clear: we've attacked and conquered (virtually if not totally) every other plague we've known about. The new plague of HIV/AIDS is no different; it is worldwide and it kills, even innocent children. How much should be spent is, as pohnpei suggests, is another question altogether and much harder for the lay observer to answer. While one set of facts regarding treatment suggests that funding might well be reduced, it is not clear how such a reduction might or might not impact related circumstances, such as cost of the "cocktail," access to the treatment by ordinary citizens who have no special funding and distribution to non-Western countries. Therefore, while funding for this plague might well be reduced, until directly and indirectly related effects are accessed, one can't say how soon nor by how much, as pohnpei himself has pointed out.
I don't think most of us know enough to have truly informed opinions on this subject. The reason for this is that we have very little idea as to how much money is being put towards HIV/AIDS research as opposed to research on other diseases. You could say that AIDS is a special case and that we should not be spending money on a disease that typically comes from people's own behavior. However, there are many other diseases, such as heart disease or some cancers, that are also heavily influenced by personal behavior. Surely we wouldn't say we should cut funding for those diseases.
So, I think we should continue to fund HIV/AIDS research, but I don't know enough to have an informed opinion about the appropriate levels of such funding.