NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 21, 1997

While President Clinton wants to create a special AIDS research unit at the National Institutes of Health and achieve an AIDS vaccine by 2007, the epidemic is receding.

  • Reports of new cases peaked in 1993 and have been trending downward ever since, with deaths dropping sharply last year after peaking in 1994.
  • The federal government spends about $1.5 billion a year on AIDS, compared to $2.5 billion on cancer and $1 billion on heart disease -- giving AIDS far more funding per capita than diseases which strike far more people.
  • According to a study from Duke University, AIDS was the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 1991 -- 11.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • This was far less than the 285.9 deaths per 100,000 for heart disease, 204.1 from cancer and 56.9 from stroke.

Critics of the increased spending also point out that AIDS is largely preventable now through behavioral change, and that despite the protestations of activists it does discriminate: almost half of AIDS cases are related to men who have sex with men, and another 21 percent are caused by intravenous drug abuse. Meanwhile, there is a backlash against condom use among homosexuals -- a much greater threat than a lack of funding, and one which President Clinton has yet to address.

Source: Editorial, "AIDS: Fighting the Last War?" Investor's Business Daily, May 21, 1997.


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