On a serious, but unrelated note.

This has nothing to do with me, but, rather, a news article and it caused me to blow SUCH a gasket, I simply had to vent share.


Take a look at this BBC report on morally dubious field-testing:

A major trial of a vaginal microbicide has produced no evidence that its use
reduces the risk of HIV infection in women.

The gel, PRO 2000, is intended for use before sexual intercourse to help reduce HIV infection. It was tested in a trial involving 9,385 women in four African

The risk of HIV infection was not significantly different among women supplied with the gel than in women given a placebo gel.
Stop and ponder that for a moment. So as to determine the effectiveness of the microbicide being tested, half of the cough-cough participants were provided a substance with no medicinal properties whatsover -- the placebo -- and then sent forth with the instruction to (re)commence sexual activity in a place where the population has a monumentally high incidence of HIV infection.

What the researchers considered mere guinea pigs in this "experiment" were people. People with families, friends, hopes, jobs, loves, children, fears, desires, and responsibilities. Don't forget, people, the cough-cough participants -- necessarily -- had to be uninfected women when the trial got started. It stands to reason the scientists were hoping the test subjects would be inseminated by men infected with "a lethal disease agent."
(It'd be kinda pointless otherwise, yes?)

Somehow (the article does not specify) the women in question were induced to comply (were they given Ecstasy? or told "I really love you and we'll get married as soon as I can move out of my parents' house."?) but they did get "free condoms and access to counseling about safe sex."
Which is nice.
Not clear eitheris if these women were satisfactorily informed as to
1) what "placebo" means,
2) what the chances of being one of those using the medically worthless substance were,
3) how likely the trial medicine's effectiveness would be.
If you think 9,000 volunteers gathered together without the truth being shaded...well, you must have a black belt in naiveté.

Lo and behold, the gel was not particularly effective in bringing down the transmission rate for HIV.
Which leads us to the money quote and the Bald Faced Gall Award.

Lead researcher Dr Sheena McCormack, of the Medical Research Council, which
part-funded the study, said: "This result is disheartening."
What one wonders is how disheartened those women (who were shoved out of the proverbial airplane with what turned out to be a knapsack and not a parachute) are these days.
What's holding up Judgment Day?


cary perk said…
holy shit. that is all.
Wow! Like the poor women in Africa don't have it bad enough. This is unconscionable!
Joke said…
And let's not forget the gel being tested was just as useless as the placebo.

Well done, amoral researchers. Good luck with that in the afterlife.

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