Biased view

Our first response to Phil Dalton’s column on AIDS research funding was sheer outrage. After storming into The Northern Star to let off some steam and give witness to our anger, we have decided to write this letter. Mr. Dalton’s manipulation of statistics and “facts” is a weak cloaking of a very biased viewpoint. His viewpoint offends anyone who can think critically, not to mention those people directly affected by the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

It is disturbing that Mr. Dalton has followed Eric Krol’s lead in writing inflammatory articles for the purpose of inciting response. We expect educated insights in the columns of our student newspaper, not just secondhand biases and manipulations of figures.

The main focus of this response is directed to your readership rather than to Mr. Dalton. We believe that there are many people who may be misled by what you have printed. The most dangerous element of Mr. Dalton’s column is its trivialization of a grave situation—an incurable and fatal disease which is spreading exponentially. On a college campus where sexually active young people may not be practicing safe sex, it is highly irresponsible and dangerous to present AIDS/HIV as “not that big of a deal.”

AIDS/HIV is a big deal. In his statistical analysis, Mr. Dalton separates people with the disease AIDS from those infected with the HIV virus. What he fails to point out is that everyone with HIV will eventually die of AIDS unless a treatment (such as Arnold Hampel’s molecular knife) is discovered and developed. This will only be accomplished by recognizing the severity of the AIDS/HIV epidemic and adequately funding research.

The recognition of a lack of research funding for cancer, heart disease and arthritis is admirable. Yet, giving money to AIDS/HIV research does not take money away from research devoted to other diseases; these programs are separate entities. If there is a lack of funds in our government’s budget for disease research, we should reevaluate how and where all of our tax dollars are spent.

The game of manipulating facts and figures is played continuously in our media. Mr. Dalton has played this game irresponsibly. We felt a reply to a few of his statistical ploys was needed, but most importantly we want to point to the perspective behind his argument. We want your readers to know that AIDS/HIV is not God’s gift to sodomizers; no one is truly safe. We need responsibility, support and respect for one another, not guised condemnation of a serious situation.

Joseph Lennon

Jody Osmund

Graduate students