Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Partying like there's a cure

AIDS Healthcare Foundation, everybody's granny in the HIV/AIDS community, tore into Pfizer for its New Year's Eve ads for Viagra. I myself am a wee bit tired of all the ads for all the drugs for ED, most especially when they show up in my email inbox. Even so, I'm thinking that Pfizer is less the problem than the continuing complacency of the general public in the face of HIV and other STDs, which are epidemic in the U.S., not to mention that same public's willingness to abuse prescription drugs.

I checked the AHF web site to see if their original press release were available, since the Reuter's story didn't provide much more information than that AHF didn't like the ads. No joy. However, the Associated Press provided a little more detail. In that story, the phrase "party drug" showed up. This at least got more to the heart of the issue. While AHF's concerns are more strongly presented by AP (and Pfizer's defense equally well presented), the central issue (in my mind) got a little more coverage.

The news story for both news bureaus is, of course, the conflict between two major players in HIV/AIDS, and that's my point. The conflict is less important than the underlying issues, which were never addressed in the Reuter's story and only scantly attended to in the AP story. Pfizer can't be blamed for the unintended purchasers of their product (although I do wish they'd sue the spam marketers to kingdom come), and they are to be commended for adding STD prevention messages to their ads. AHF at least made an effort to raise the real issues. But we still have the twin problems of complacency and drug abuse sitting out there, needing some real attention.

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