Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 1998 The Anchorage Daily News
Author: Peter Jenkins
Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 1998


I am puzzled by one of the latest examples of Republican budget-saving
actions. They have annihilated funds for needle exchange programs. These
programs have shown to be effective in reducing HIV infections 

Although the death rate from HIV is down, the infection rate remains
constant at about 40,000 new cases a year. The new drug treatments are
extremely expensive, and lifetime treatment costs for one person can easily
reach $1 million. If the outlay of $1,000 in a needle exchange program
results in only one person not getting the disease it is a 1,000 percent
return on investment. Find me a money manager who would turn this down. 

The money for treatment of HIV usually comes from either government- or
insurance-funded programs. The only money the government has comes from you
and me. Insurance companies get their money from premiums, which if paid by
a business are added to the price of its goods or services, which we then
pay, or if paid by an individual, increases that person's cost of living.
The so-called cost-cutting measure then, in hidden ways, costs us all far
more in the long run. 

Maybe someone from our esteemed congressional delegation can explain the
logic of this situation. On second thought, I think it would take a person
with the convoluted irrational reasoning of John Lindauer to do justice to

- - Peter Jenkins 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake