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Michelle Samplin-Salgado, blog dot AIDS dot gov: Facing AIDS at the U.S. Conference on AIDS

Facing AIDS at the U.S. Conference on AIDS
by Michelle Samplin-Salgado, New Media Strategist,, November 28, 2011

World AIDS Day is right around the corner. Nearly 600 photos have been uploaded to our Facing AIDS page from across the country and we’re already looking forward to the many more that will be created and shared!

Your messages continue to move and inspire us. Earlier this month at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Chicago we asked several participants to tell us why they were Facing AIDS. Here’s a video with some of their responses:

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Noted on facebook

posted on facebook November 29, 2011

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Ged Kenslea, AHF, Business Wire: Gilead ‘Pillaged AIDS Enough’ to Amass $10B Cash for Pharmasset Deal, Yet Refuses HIV Drug Price Cuts

Gilead ‘Pillaged AIDS Enough’ to Amass $10B Cash for Pharmasset Deal, Yet Refuses HIV Drug Price Cuts
by Ged Kenslea, AHF, November 21, 2011

As thousands of Americans linger on AIDS drug waiting lists for access to lifesaving AIDS medications, Gilead announces $10.4 billion all-cash purchase of rival company, Pharmasset

In 2010, Gilead had over $6.5 billion in AIDS drug sales; now, after reaping record profits on AIDS and as patent expirations loom on HIV treatments, company looks to rival’s pipeline for new products and revenue sources

LOS ANGELES – On the same day Gilead Sciences announced its eye-popping $10.4 billion all-cash purchase of rival Pharmasset, a drug company working on treatments for Hepatitis C, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today chastised Gilead for refusing further AIDS drug price concessions to help end AIDS drug waiting lists and address the severe crisis facing the nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a network of federal and state funded programs that provide life-saving HIV treatments to low income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide.

“Over the years, Gilead has pillaged AIDS enough to amass over $10 billion in cash to buy Pharmasset outright, but the company is too cheap to step in and really help end the AIDS drug waiting lists affecting many hard-hit ADAPs and thousands of vulnerable Americans living with HIV/AIDS around the country,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This is outrageous. We renew our call on Gilead and its C.E.O. John Martin to cut prices and increase access to its lifesaving AIDS medications for ADAPs nationwide.”

According to a story on the purchase, Gilead’s medication, “Viread (tenofovir) or one of the combinations that contain it, is taken by eight in ten AIDS patients.” Gilead’s current pricing for ADAP for its blockbuster HIV/AIDS combination therapy, Atripla (efavirenz & tenofovir & emtricitabine) is approximately $10,000 per patient, per year.

Background on ADAP

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Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail: Brain drain of African doctors has saved Canada $400-million

Brain drain of African doctors has saved Canada $400-million
by Geoffrey York,, November 25, 2011

JOHANNESBURG—Canada has saved nearly $400-million by poaching doctors from Africa, while the African countries that trained those doctors have lost billions of dollars as a result of medical migration.

Wealthy countries such as Canada are benefiting significantly from those African losses as thousands of trained doctors continue to emigrate from African countries that already suffer a severe shortage of health workers, new research shows.

The study casts a new light on the issue of foreign aid, showing that the relationship between Canada and Africa is not merely a story of Canada giving and Africa receiving. In fact, Canada benefits enormously from Africa’s human resources.

More than 22 per cent of Canada’s physicians are foreign-trained, and Africa (especially South Africa) has been the biggest source of those doctors in recent years. In Saskatchewan, more than half of the practising doctors are foreign-trained, including hundreds from South Africa.

The new study argues that Canada and other recipient countries should do much more to compensate the African countries that trained those physicians, ideally by boosting their support for medical training in Africa. “Our study highlights that the loss to developing countries is substantial and that any compensation should be more than token,” the authors said.

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Kam Williams, Pittsburgh Urban Media: Sister Melissa — Melissa Harris-Perry, The “Sister Citizen” Interview

Sister Melissa — Melissa Harris-Perry, The “Sister Citizen” Interview
by Kam Williams, November 26, 2011


for those of you fond of questions, take a look at the way this interview works: collected questions from readers and other esoteric sources. the questions are pretty good, not the vacuous stuff from the repug reality skirmishes.


Born in Seattle, Washington on October 2, 1973, but raised in Charlottesville and Chester, Virginia, Melissa V. Harris-Perry is a professor of political science at Tulane University where she is the founding director of the project on gender, race, and politics in the South. Her previous book, Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, won the 2005 W. E. B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2005 Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnic Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.

Besides being a columnist for The Nation Magazine, Dr. Harris-Perry frequently appears as a guest or fill-in host on MSNBC on The Thomas Roberts Show, Up with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. She is also a regular commentator for many print and radio sources both around the U.S. and abroad.

Melissa lives in New Orleans with her husband, James Perry, and her daughter, Parker. Here, she reflects on her life and career and on American culture and politics while discussing her new book, Sister Citizen.

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November is Native American Heritage month

from the Native American Heritage 2011 site

About Native American Heritage Month
Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

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Susan Logue, Voice of America, YouTube: Exhibit Traces Horse’s Impact on Tribal Life

Exhibit Traces Horse’s Impact on Tribal Life
uploaded by  on Nov 25, 2011

The image of a Native American warrior racing across the Western plains on horseback is an iconic one. The animal’s long relationship with some native tribes is celebrated in a new exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. VOA’s Susan Logue reports.

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Austin Frakt, The Incidental Economist: Reading List

Incidental Economist Reading List
by Austin Frakt, November 25, 2011

Geographic Variation: A View From the Hospital Sector, by Rachel Mosher Henke, William D. Marder, Bernard S. Friedman and Herbert S. Wong  (Medical Care Research and Review)

Efforts to characterize geographic variation in health care utilization and spending have focused on patterns observed with Medicare data. The authors analyzed the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project national all-payer data for inpatient stays to assess variation in hospitalizations by age groups and, consequently, to understand how utilization of the Medicare population may differ from the population of other payers. The authors found that the correlation between inpatient discharges and costs per capita for the Medicare-eligible population over 65 and younger age groups increased from moderate to strong with age. These findings suggest examining Medicare inpatient data alone may provide a useful but not comprehensive understanding how hospital utilization and costs vary for the total population.

Implementing Small Group Health Insurance Reform: The HEALTHpact Plan of Rhode Island, by Edward Alan Miller, Amal N. Trivedi, Sylvia Kuo and Vincent Mor (Medical Care Research and Review)

This study analyzes administrative impediments to enrollment in HEALTHpact, a high-deductible plan with premiums capped at 10% of the average Rhode Island wage. HEALTHpactincludes an opportunity for enrollees to reduce their deductibles from $5,000 ($10,000 for a family) to $750 ($1,500 for a family) if they engage in prespecified wellness behaviors. A stakeholder panel was convened to develop guidelines for insurers, which, in turn, were required to develop products satisfying those guidelines. Implementation was examined using stakeholder interviews and archival documents. Results indicate that since no funds were allocated for education and monitoring, there was little opportunity to promote “bottom up” demand or to oversee insurers. They also indicate that both insurers and brokers adopted strategies that inhibited take-up. Providing the resources necessary for effective government oversight and outreach will be critical to small group market reform nationally. So too will be promoting broker and insurer buy-in.

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Robert Pear, NYTimes: Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation

Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation
by Robert Pear, March 23, 2008

WASHINGTON — New government research has found “large and growing” disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.

Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said, but affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused a widening gap.

One of the researchers, Gopal K. Singh, a demographer at the Department of Health and Human Services, said “the growing inequalities in life expectancy” mirrored trends in infant mortality and in death from heart disease and certain cancers.

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Aaron Carroll, The Incidental Economist: Subtleties of life expectancy (part two of two)

Subtleties of life expectancy (part two of two)
by Aaron Carroll, May 12, 2011


this post and the last provide background for the discussion of the retirment age. healthy, straight while wealthy old men would be the primare beneficiaries of raising the retirement age. other groups are losing ground in life expectancy.


Debate over Alan Simpson’s comments on life expectancy continues.

The last chart from my previous post on this topic showed differences in life expectancy by race. What you’d really like, however, is differences by socioeconomic status. After all, it’s far more likely that we can (and perhaps should) base policies on earnings rather than race. Unfortunately, the CDC data I used two days ago didn’t have differences by earnings.

But then I received an email from Paul Van de Water, pointing me to a paper by Hilary Waldren that appeared in Social Security Bulletin in 2007. It’s entitled, “Trends in Mortality Differentials and Life Expectancy for Male Social Security–Covered Workers, by Socioeconomic Status.” She did the work for me.

Let’s start with a chart I made from her paper (Table 4):

What you’re looking at is the life expectancy of a male who reached age 65 in 1977-2007. The blue line is the top 50% of earners; the green line is the bottom 50%. While the top half of earners have seen an increase of their life expectancy at 65 rise about 5 years over these three decades, the bottom half saw their life expectancy at 65 rise barely a year.

Think about that when advocating for an increase in the age of eligibility because “everyone” has seen their life expectancy increase.

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