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Government hiring 'independent' study of HIV

If one believes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reason certain populations in the U.S. report more cases of HIV isn’t a mystery.

Except to the Obama administration.

The administration seems perplexed about why homosexuals – whom it defines as “men who have sex with men”– along with racial and ethnic minorities, transgender persons and youths 13-29 continue to represent the “overwhelming majority” of the 50,000 new HIV cases reported annually in the U.S.

So now the Obama administration, through the CDC, is working to amass a list of researchers who could investigate and publish, independently of the government, conclusions about “this health disparity in the HIV epidemic,” according to a sources-sought notice that WND discovered via routine database research.

Social issues such as “racism, discrimination, stigma, poverty, incarceration, and healthcare inequity” continue to serve as “anchors” of the epidemic, CDC claims in the recent procurement.

Contractors selected for the new endeavor will carry out taxpayer-funded tasks “independently, and not as an agent of the government,” the notice says.

Emphasizing the desire to cast the study as “independent,” the notice says it must be produced in a “manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.”

CDC, under the project “Qualitative Inquiry Methods to Understand Issues in HIV Prevention, Care, and Treatment in the U.S.,” would hire contractors on an “as needed” basis from the list.

It will compile provider contacts and capabilities, enabling CDC to swiftly locate vendors capable of helping the federal government improve its understanding of HIV prevention issues.

This is all even though according to the CDC website, the government already has some indication of potential HIV prevention measures.

Blood transfusions stand at the top of the list of HIV “exposure acts,” according to a CDC chart titled “Estimated Per-Act Probability of Acquiring HIV from an Infected Source.”

The next two acts of exposure, however, with the highest probability of causing HIV acquisition are “needle-sharing during injection drug use” and “receptive anal intercourse.”

CDC last updated the list June 14, 2012, according to the site. However, it is “reviewing the most recent science and constructing mathematical models to update transmission risk.”

Reducing HIV-related health disparities remains one of the primary goals of Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which the president unveiled three years ago, the CDC procurement notes.

Two other goals of that initiative are to:

  1. Reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV; and
  2. Increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.

CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention hopes the new endeavor will help the administration attain those goals by conducting and using:

  1. Methods to help answer timely questions related to HIV prevention; and
  2. Findings to strengthen existing and future HIV prevention efforts.

“It is increasingly important to understand the issues, behaviors, barriers and facilitators experienced by those at greatest risk for HIV to better focus prevention programs,” the notice says.

This heightened understanding will help the government to “successfully reduce the number of persons infected with HIV, especially in vulnerable communities, and increase access to HIV treatment and care for all HIV-positive persons.”

CDC will hire providers on an “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity basis,” meaning that the government will issue individual task orders depending on need. It did not disclose an estimated cost.