Strip Mall Medicine

Will a flood of new AIDS patients break the system's back?

Posted:
 
(Continued from Page 1)

CDC says it's a moot point. "If we have 250,000 people in our population who are undiagnosed, they are at a very high risk of transmitting that HIV to others," CDC's prevention chief, Kevin Fenton, responded when I asked how we're going to absorb the newly diagnosed. "The long term costs of not diagnosing these are going to be tremendous."

Fine point. But it means the CDC has set up a decisive moment in the history of this epidemic. Without new resources, the newly diagnosed will undoubtedly break the system's back. In the near future, we will have to decide whether we are prepared to invest what's needed to both stop the virus's spread and provide real care for those already infected. Otherwise, we will go on managing the epidemic at its edges. Should that happen, we could find ourselves returning to a crisis level similar to that in the early days of the disease, withAmericans dying needless deaths in droves.

Kai Wright is a regular contributor to The Root.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.