Scientific Errors and Controversies in the U.S. HIV/AIDS Epidemic

How They Slowed Advances and Were Resolved

  • Scott D. Holmberg
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Beschrijving
Our understanding, prevention, and treatment of HIV have made remarkable strides in the past two decades, but the way has not been smooth or straight. Part history, part narrative, and mainly scientific autopsy, this book is an insider's account of the errors, controversies and corrections that have marked the first 25 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. The author discusses the sources of these errors and controversies and provides many examples. These range from the scientifically contentious and protracted-- such as laboratory contaminations that lead to identifying HTLV-III and HTLV-IV, or arguments that there were HIV patients who were silently infected, and not detectable by standard HIV tests--to controversies that the scientific community quickly evaluated and discarded--such as the belief that HIV is spread by mosquitoes, or that one AIDS-associated cancer is caused by poppers, nitrates inhaled for sexual stimulation. This book describes how these many scientific errors occurred, how they got propagated, how they distracted researchers and the public, and how they got corrected. Holmberg, a longtime past Chief of Epidemiology in the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, shows us how scientific errors and controversies inevitably occur in the absence, ignorance, or dismissal of good data, and the promotion of bad data or analyses. He suggests reforms of governmental processes, medical and scientific journal review, and in graduate education that may help scientists recognize and correct errors faster, and so deal with future epidemics more efficiently.
Review
"This book is an autopsy of errors. Drawing on his 20 years as chief of epidemiology in the division of the prevention of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Scott Holmberg dissects a litter of discarded theories and opinions about the epidemic to learn how they arose, were propagated, and were eventually corrected. The result is an instructive illustration of how errors afflict science at all levels, and it provides some thoughtful, if overly optimistic, observations on how to reduce their incidence. . . . offers a well-documented account that will be of interest not only to HIV and AIDS scholars but to anyone concerned with the role of error in modern medicine." - New England Journal of Medicine "Part history, part narrative, and principally a scientific autopsy, this book is an insider's account of the errors, controversies, and corrections that have marked the first twenty-five years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. It describes how these many scientific errors occurred, how they distracted researchers and the public, and how they were corrected. The author shows how scienfitic errors and controversies inevitably occur in the abscence, ignorance, or dismissal of good data, and the promotion of bad data or analyses. He suggests reforms of government processes, medical and scientific journal review, and graduate education that may help scientists recognize and correct error faster, enabling us to deal with future epidemics more efficiently." - Issues in Law & Medicine "...Hope for a cure sometimes creates a frenzy of expectation. In the chapter titled 'Early Drugs and Biomedical Interventions,' Holmberg expertly takes us through some of the thinking and activity surrounding ineffective HIV treatment compounds that were early research targets, such as peptide T, dextran sulfate, compound Q, interleukin 2, and interferon alpha, and the hope and controversy that emerged during research phases....After reading this book, one wonders if there is some ingrained aspect of the public milieu, as well as perhaps permanent structural elements within the scientific community, that promote the kind of rollercoaster ride associated with the investigation of HIV/AIDS and the efforts of public programs to address the pandemic. In summary, the book presents the reader with an excellent view of scientific issues affected by errors and controversies in the US HIV/AIDS epidemic.' " - HIV Clinical Trials
Productdetails
Uitgavejaar 2007
ISBN 9780313347177
Verschijningsdatum 30 dec. 2007
Omvang 240
Auteur(s) Scott D. Holmberg
Bindwijze Gebonden
Taal Engels

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