I guess AIDS is getting pretty boring. That’s too bad, since CDC data confirm that this damn disease still kills surprising numbers of Americans. In fact, the annual death toll from HIV/AIDS
exceeds rivals the number of gun homicides.* More from me at the Incidental Economist….
Then there’s the pernicious role of the availability heuristic in deciding to buy a gun to protect against burglary-homicide–including a nifty made-up anecdote about having your eyeball pop out and leaving an oozing trail down the side of your face. Absolutely no children or women permitted to link my piece in the Nation.
*Commenter DenguyFL rightly notes that listed deaths with HIV/AIDS diagnoses includes deaths of any cause, some of which are obviously related to HIV infection, some obviously unrelated, and some ambiguous such as suicide hastened by disease symptoms. My own comparison with gun homicides was not based on that gross mortality number but upon the latest CDC estimates I could obtain.
Reading the comment and redoing the numbers, I do think the commenter has a point that the wording was sloppy and should be changed. In reality, the two causes of death are quite close. Some years, AIDS is higher. Some years, gun homicide is higher. For example, here’s more specific information for 2009, Roughly 9000 deaths were directly attributable to AIDS. That’s extremely close to the estimated 9,146 U.S. gun homicides for the same year.
I have changed the wording to “rivals” since the two causes of death are so close, and since the HIV/AIDS estimate is inherently difficult to pin down. I appreciate the excellent comment with a close read and the needed clarification.