"Curing AIDS? Shit, that’s like Cadillac making a car that lasts for 50 years. And you know they can do it, but they ain’t going to do nothing that fucking dumb. Shit, they got metal on the Space Shuttle that can go around the Moon and withstand temperatures of up to 20,000 degrees, you mean to tell me you don’t think they can make an El Dorado with a fuckin’ bumper that don’t fall off?"
- Chris Rock (“Bigger and Blacker”, 1999)
Ok…can we talk about this? (not an attack on who I’m reblogging from, just of the position Mr. Rock’s espousing above.)
As a scientist who has worked for the federal government attempting to cure cancer, this attitude hurts. A lot. I hope that it’s just that this is 15 years old. I hope that people don’t still think this in any numbers. But yet…here it is on my dash.
tl;dr: The idea that the “government” can cure HIV/AIDS or any other disease any time it wants to and that it doesn’t because it makes money from human suffering/hates minorities/etc. is ludicrous.
The government makes no money off of HIV. Or polio. Or cancer. Or any of the other thousands of horrible diseases that afflict humanity. In fact, they PAY for it, in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security/disability payments to help those who are afflicted get health care and live comfortably. (If you want to know who makes money off medications, might I direct you to the pharmaceutical industry?)
Just ONE US federal agency (the NIH) is spending about $3 billion a year for research on HIV/AIDS. Does that sound like we’re not trying to cure HIV/AIDS? Seriously?
But most of all, this is untrue because “the government” is made up of people, including scientists who are working incredibly hard to cure these diseases. People like me and my coworkers who have built careers on understanding and studying treatments for terrible diseases and who almost always say that they love their jobs because they want to help people. People who, like all of us, have been touched by disease and want to keep others from having to suffer. People like my friends, who are actively working to cure AIDS or to develop HIV vaccines. Who are part of a workaholic culture that pulls 12-hour days not because they get paid by the hour, but because that’s what you do. Because that’s what science demands to get the job done.
So, yeah. On behalf of everyone who actually works in scientific research, I call bullshit.