From the University of Arizona Arizona Daily Wildcat, Tuesday, December 4, 1990, vol. 84, no. 69, p. 4.

Article doesn't have facts straight


It seems that most media reports on AIDS and the spread of the HIV virus are bad news and more bad news. Now, when we finally get some good news, it's presented in such a way that we can't even tell. The Arizona Daily Wildcat reported the most recent study of HIV infection in college students by the Centers for Disease Control under the headline "HIV infects nearly 1 in 500 at the UA," which is both false and sounds like bad news. In fact, the infection rate among college students reported by the CDC in 1988 was 3.1 in 1,000, so the infection rate has declined. This is surely good news, but the article nowhere informed us of how the present infection rate compared to the past so that we could realize this.

The article also contradicts its headline, noting that the infection rate at the UA is actually lower than in the national college sample. But it is puzzling that Koreen Johannesen was quoted as saying that the number of UA infections is "not much fewer" when the same article notes that the UA has no statistics about HIV infection in its students. How can such a statement be made without any studies being made to determine our local infection rate?

I would urge the Wildcat and our health officials to give us more accurate and useful information, rather than, as Johannessen did, accusing students of "not thinking very clearly."

Jim Lippard
Philosophy graduate student