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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Nation's priorities don't reflect reality

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

The truth of the matter is we have many of our priorities upside down in this great nation. But then again, that should come as no big surprise. Here's the latest example of how hype and the media - with a healthy dash of Hollywood - can create a false priority. Let's call it AIDS vs. flu.

A new report surfaced Tuesday documenting that flu is a much more deadly ailment than AIDS. Flu kills an estimated 36,000 Americans annually - mostly elderly - while deaths from the AIDS virus are in the 15,000 range.

But you wouldn't know that if you listened to the massive publicity ammunition mounted by the gay community and AIDS advocates. You would think that no plague has ever posed a more dangerous threat to mankind than AIDS. But numbers, in this case, don't lie and they clearly show we should be much more concerned about flu than AIDS.

So where are the fund raisers, the national telethons, the avalanche of Hollywood stars out battling the threat of flu? Well you already know the answer to that.

AIDS, though deadly and of great concern, is often a self-inflicted disease where flu is just the opposite. But AIDS has the publicity and the star power and, as a result, the fight against AIDS generates billions of dollars in precious funding. So could that funding be better used on other concerns such as flu prevention? The answer seems obvious.

I have marveled in the past that drunk drivers claim many more lives than AIDS in this country but we pay only passing attention to drunks and massive attention to AIDS victims. It's all a matter of priorities and, in this case, we have them out of line.

You could talk all day about the inconsistencies in our national policies. A day rarely passes that a clear cut example does not surface. But the AIDS vs. flu match-up is an interesting one because flu is as common as houseflies while AIDS remains a less-than-common issue.

I mean not to diminish the critical nature of the AIDS. It's deadly and it deserves our concerns, our compassion and our cash. But it also needs to be placed in perspective. Under that spotlight, it does indeed make you question our priorities.

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