#b#AIDS Ignorance Has No Bounds#/b#

It is not only in “less educated and poorer parts of the world” that science is seeking an escape from the Dark Ages (“Tracking Down AIDS,” U.S. 1, February 24). New Jersey knew by the end of the Florio administration that needle exchange programs (NEPs) could slow the spread of AIDS by up to one third in an I.V. drug using population. But for the eight years of the Whitman Administration, NEPs were forbidden. Governor Whitman thought they encouraged drug use, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

I spoke with many officials at the NJ Department of Health at that time and they all privately supported NEPS, but they could not say a word in public to support them. It is really quite amazing that the official policy of the State Health Department could be based on one person’s delusion-— in this case, the fixed, false belief that NEPs were bad things. Yet, since the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services is a gubernatorial appointee, and the department takes its marching orders from the top down, it happens. Thousands of cases of AIDS were spread unnecessarily in New Jersey—many cases were not even among I.V. drug users, but their partners and children.

New Jersey should consider establishing a health department that is independent of political whims and whose policies are based on epidemiological principles. Otherwise, despite all this brilliant research, New Jersey is still in the Dark Ages.

Kenneth Wolski, RN, MPA

Woodside Avenue, Trenton

Having known Jim Sapirstein for many years, I am proud to count him and his colleagues at Tobira as allies in the fight against HIV/AIDS and its all-too-human consequences around the globe. Jim is working tirelessly, combining his scientific background, business acumen, governmental contacts, and — above all — his human compassion to bring new therapies to people living with HIV.

His efforts are truly making a difference as he strives to improve both the research and business environments for the entire New Jersey biotech community.

Michael Stevens, PharmD

Chief Development Officer, ViroStatics, Forrestal Village

#b#2 Views of Paradise, and Still a Small World#/b#

Within a day of each other, William Roufberg’s “Our Side of Paradise” appeared in U.S. 1 (February 24), and Piers Brenden’s Op-Ed, “Like Rome Before the Fall? Not Yet,” appeared in the New York Times (February 25).

Coincidentally, both were concerned about the future of our country’s status worldwide. Both questioned whether after dominating the world stage for the 20th century, we would follow Rome and other great empires into decline.

After a litany of domestic negatives, baring our warts and all, Roufberg believes we are resourceful and capable enough to overcome our faults and should continue to prosper. Brenden, author of “Decline and Fall of the British Empire,” examines our enterprise from an international perspective, and of course finding faults, nevertheless believes the “doom-mongers” have misread the tea leaves and that America will recover.

It was comforting to see that both had arrived at similar conclusions from their disparate perspectives. It was also comforting to see Mr. Roufberg continuing his long years of educating us. My three kids, Scott, Andrea, and Dana, each had him as a teacher at Princeton High School in the 1970s. U.S.1 is a valuable source of information and ideas.

Melvin A. Benarde Ph.D.

#b#More Summer Fun#/b#

Thank you for a wonderful article on summer camps (U.S. 1, February 17). You made my family seem normal, and adventurous. Had I known these type of family trips were available before I started working for Tips on Trips and Camps, I would have been doing them when my kids were younger as well.

I hope that through my families’ adventure, readers will realize that there are wonderful alternatives to the standard, traditional vacation. This trip brought us closer together as a family. It also gave me an enhanced appreciation for the experience kids have when traveling with their own peers. Of course, sending your kids away to an overnight camp or teen program for a few weeks can also do a family well.

Nurit Zachter

NJ representative, Tips on Trips and Camps

#b#Correction:#/b# Our summer camp listing for the Arts Council of Princeton incorrectly stated the location of the programs. Arts camps are held at Princeton Junior School, 90 Fackler Road, Lawrenceville, and at 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Arts and drama programs for children ages 5 to 12 and art studio programs for tweens and teens are offered in sculpture, painting, mixed media, digital arts, and drama.

For more information visit www.artscouncilofprinceton.org or call 609-924-8777.

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