Dr. West poses the question of the quality of the global response to the AIDS epidemic. He ask if the AIDS epidemic's primary victims were middle-class, white, male (from Europe and the U.S.) wouldn't the global response be different. Within the question it appears tha Dr. West is also asserting that if the tables were turned (so to speak) that the response would "better" (my word not his). But for the sake of perspective I have to disagree. Following the market response to the heart disease crisis in the U.S., which kills 870,000 U.S. citizens every year (mostly the above stated demographic) and rising, I think that it demostrates the reality of what a different response would look like. Heart disease, like AIDS is preventable with the right education and life practices, yet unlike AIDS in that it is completely reversible (curable). Despite the fact that it is curable the numbers have risen to "epidemic" porportions in the U.S.
So, rather than seeing a better response, directly addressing the crisis, the market response has been to profit off the health condition creating an entire system (media, healthcare, pharma, government, religion) that prods the public further into the problem sending the death toll (and general victims) skyrocketing.
So, I have to conclude that yes the response would be different, but no it would not be better, and it definetly would not be more humane.
True, number wise the AIDS epidemic is extremely massive. Dr. West cites 40 million globally, 30 million in Africa alone, and those are the numbers from 2006. And perhaps I am abusing statistics by using percentages, but I feel I have to to expose just how horrific our own response is to our own health epidemic. The loss of life to AIDS doesn't even amount to 1% of the world population over than entire span of the crisis (basically the last 30 years), meanwhile the heart disease crisis in the U.S. (the 870k that die annually, and growing) equates to close 4% of our own population every year.
I recognize I have a tendency to be redundant, and thank you for your supportive comment, but impulsively feel I must piggyback off the insight you provide to try and over exaggerate my point. My point sorta being that if we (Western Society, the U.S. inparticular) responded to the AIDS crisis in the same nature as we respond to our own health crisis, we would actually exponentially increase it effects. For example, we see the crisis as appalling at it's current numbers, now envision an AIDS crisis 400% higher. I am asserting that that is a dangerously possible reality if the U.S. discovers a market in the crisis. In fact, if we commit
to any response it will almost inevitably, even if it begins with sincere intentions, mutate to a market response and produce consistent results with literally all our other projects of social aide: democratizing the Middle-East; economically and politically stabilizing South America; establishing women's rights in Afghanistan; using nuclear weapons as means of providing security....
I don't think we can develop new responses that can actually have positive results unless we boldly face the realities of our track record. Its like we have the Midas Touch and at the same time an uncontrollable need to embrace our most loved friends and family. Condemning them die and us to be left only with golden monuments of our desperate need to feel wanted which we have learned to melt down and fashion into shiney objects of a wealth that we use to lure new friends into our reach.