The BBC reported a “remarkable drop in new HIV cases“. Which is great, but it’s only “remarkable” if you haven’t been paying attention.
Here’s what happened: A drug that prevents transmission of HIV became available. People at risk of HIV infection thought that was jolly good, and they asked to have some.
In some cases, they get it easily because their health care providers provide health care (to reiterate, the drug prevents the spread of HIV – it’s healthier than quinoa). They also realise that HIV is an expensive lifetime condition. Each person with HIV costs the health sector hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds, bones, clams or whatever you call them. Seems like a no-brainer.
Some people have questioned why ‘the gays’ can’t just use condoms, practice abstinence, be monogamous and get married (wait, no!) These suggestions are, at best, naïve. Let’s be clear, the money gets spent on treating an infected person regardless of whether or not you think they’re a promiscuous disease-bag, so why not save that money for more healthcare, hm?
Well because in some places, health care providers are prevented from providing health care because of bizarre attitudes about sex and specifically homosexual sex that we’ve inherited from a time when churches were allowed to make the rules. The fact that these same health care providers are allowed to hand out contraceptive pills doesn’t appear to strike policy-makers as hypocritical. It is.
So people who are at risk have found a way around the system. They go on the Internet and order it from elsewhere. This is largely thanks to the heroic efforts of websites like ‘iwantprepnow’, who saw the need for trustworthy information and went about providing it. Equally heroic are the clinics that will monitor your health – free of charge – while you’re taking the drug they’re not allowed to give you.
In short, there’s a way to prevent infection, so people are using it, even if it’s slightly more difficult for some people to obtain than others. It turns out people like the idea of being able to have sex without the risk of contracting HIV. Who’d have guessed?
So it’s not remarkable. Essential services are being saved. Money is being saved. Lives are being saved. Now wouldn’t that be a nice thing for our health care policies to have achieved, rather than something achieved in spite of our health care policies?