What Happens When Inequality and Disease Collide

It is really concerning that it has taken 40 years to get to about 700,000 AIDS deaths in the United States but in less than two years, we have surpassed that number. We are already at about 800,000 COVID-19 deaths. It’s a very different story when you look at it globally. We are at about five million COVID deaths globally, which is much, much less than the 35 million to 40 million AIDS deaths that happened globally. So it is really concerning to think about why the U.S. is such an outlier here and also to think about how can we as a society mourn and effectively think about the people we have lost and deal with our own grief when we are dealing with such an incredible scale of grief in such a little time.

If you follow the colonial roots of the United States and England and the Global North, you will find enormous disparities around any kind of health thing, particularly around viruses, between the Global North and the Global South. With HIV and AIDS, we first noticed it here in the United States in 1981 and we had a pretty big head start. HIV is a relatively slowly-moving virus within humans. It can take ten to 15 years before someone passes away from it, so we have time. The United States had a lot of time once we got the medication in the mid 1990s to deal with it effectively, to make it so that AIDS deaths never needed to happen again. But those drugs took another seven, eight years to even begin to enter into countries like South Africa, so their death rates continued to spiral and spiral for many years beyond that.

— source democracynow.org | Dec 01, 2021

Nullius in verba


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