Thursday, July 28, 2005

Emotional Coverage of AIDS Trials

New York Press has a distressing article about abusive testing regimens in children with AIDS over that last decade or so. The accusations include violations of medical ethics, physician indifference, surreptitious trials on disadvantaged children, race-based selection, forced compliance and lack of scientific merit. An apparently more balanced piece in the NY Times covers the accusations, but allows a response from physicians. It implies that the accusers include race-baiters and glory hounds, that the whole issue is something along the Tawana Brawley pattern. A number of the accusers are also proponents of the theory that HIV does not cause AIDS, a theory that I abhor, which has found lamentable support among some African leaders.

AIDS drugs are powerful and toxic with dangerous side effects that would definitely be even more disturbing in children. I imagine it could seem counterproductive to the nurses. That’s why we have Science. Hard decisions must be made, and ignorance is a poor guide.

I wish I knew the truth about these assertions. I don’t think it works in this case to merely assume that the reality lies somewhere in the middle. I certainly don’t believe that a repeat of the Tuskegee experiments is likely in this day and age, but I don’t expect this to disappear from the news any time soon.

7/28/2005 3:58 PM

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