While its comical syntheses of reality shows and GIF-ridden compilations provide the perfect workday relief, Buzzfeed has more frequently provided informational insights into front-page worthy news stories.  This past week, the social media platform honored World AIDS Day (December 1) with a feature list titled “9 Things That are More Expensive Than Curing AIDS.”

According to a UNAIDS study, it would cost about $5 to $7 billion per year until 2020 to cure AIDS. And while the United States is a world leader in combating the debilitating disease, there are still many things on which this country are spending a great deal more.  In what is this nation investing that is more valuable than AIDS? Buzzfeed offers the following list:

1. The annual chocolate expenditure: $12.6 billion

2. The annual expenditure on supplements and herbal remedies: $14.8 billion

3. The annual expenditure on “alternative veterinary care”: $12.5 billion

4. The annual expenditure on cigarette advertising: $8.37 billion

5.  The annual beer expenditure: $99 billion

6. The annual expenditure on Valentine’s Day: $18.6 billion

7. The annual expenditure on McDonald’s: $27.5 billion

8. The annual expenditure on Halloween Costumes: $6.9 billion.

9. The annual expenditure on toilet paper: $6 billion

Given this list, it is clear that there is room for some reallocation of funds – some might agree that a little less could be spent on Big Macs, and more on preventing new HIV infections.  This additional spending on research and prevention could save more than 7.4 million lives before the year 2020.

For more information on AIDS and how to donate, please visit

Mallory Thayer

Sources: Buzzfeed, UNAIDS
Photo: International Business Times


Last Sunday at the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, doctors reported that an infant in Mississippi has been cured of HIV. The baby’s mother was HIV positive, and in hopes of controlling the virus, the baby was treated with high doses of three antiretroviral drugs within 30 hours of birth. Treatment was ongoing for 18 months. Two years later, there is no trace of HIV in the child’s blood. Early intervention with antiretroviral drugs seems to be the key to this “miracle cure.”

In the world of medicine, this is groundbreaking as this child is the first to be “functionally cured” of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Emphasis is being placed on the timing of intervention rather than the particular drug or number of drugs used. Dr. Hannah Gay, a pediatric HIV specialist at the University of Mississippi who treated the infant and mother, stated that the current hypothesis is that through “early aggressive therapy” they were able to prevent reservoirs or “hiding places” from being seeded with the virus. Doctors will continue to follow the unidentified baby girl’s progress but as of now, she is off of treatments and assessed by doctors as “perfectly healthy.”

In the US, 100 to 200 babies are born infected with HIV every year. Around the world, nearly one thousand babies are born infected with HIV or more than 300,000 a year. As of last Sunday, one has been cured. This is just the start of a lot of work and research that has to be done but without a doubt these findings give great hope in the possibility of a cure for HIV.

– Rafael Panlilio
Source: CNNReuters, You Tube