The Oakland Trib has an extremely depressing story about a pediatric AIDS study that's had its funding cut. A combined effort of UCSF and the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland had been getting $750,000 a year from the National Institutes of Health for experiemental AIDS/HIV treatments.

No longer.

The problem? They've done it too well. In the late 1980s, about 30% of babies born to mothers with HIV or AIDS had the virus. Nationwide, the rate's down to about 8%. In Northern California, where the group operates, transmission rates are down to about 1%.

The paper quotes Dr. Diane Wara, who is the division chief of Pediatric Immunology and Rheumatology at UCSF, as saying ""We are the victims of our own success." Because currently there are so few infected children in the region, area research centers no longer qualify for the funding.

The low rates might make you think, "hey, job well done, let's use the money elsewhere." However, the article indicates that clinical research for earlier infected children remains important--and that the program's evolved into something more. The program had been looking into the long-term effects of the prevention drugs on kids.

Furthermore, clinical trials are no longer available to area children; now, they must wait for FDA approval to use new treatments. Wara has reapplied for NIH funding, and we sincerely wish her luck.