Federal dollars fund research into gay men gone wild at circuit parties

posted at 5:50 pm on July 20, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Perhaps you caught the story that the National Institutes of Health sponsored a project to study the size of gay men’s packages. That might be the most egregious of the bizarre NIH funding examples turned up by a recent budget review conducted by the Traditional Values Coalition — but it’s by no means the only one.

TVC reports millions of dollars have gone to projects that can only be described as obvious. Since 2008, for example, $472,286 went to a project to study noise exposure on the New York City subway (yep, it’s noisy!). More than $360,000 contributed to a study to determine whether “text message intervention” helps smokers kick their addiction (yep, reminders not to smoke help!). But perhaps neither of those examples seems too extreme. How about $300,000 to study “behavioral intentions and associated outcomes over party-oriented vacations“?

That study intends to research the percentage of homosexual men who “engage in high risk behaviors at circuit parties but do not arrive intending to do so.” In other words, the project seeks to determine why gay men use drugs and have sex at night-into-day, professionally produced, highly publicized dance parties. Apparently, it costs $300,000 to arrive at the obvious answers of availability, situational pressure, lowered inhibitions, etc., etc., etc.

All applicants for NIH grants have to justify the “public health relevance” of their projects. In the case of this project, the answer is brutally honest. Principal investigator Rajeev Ramchand writes:

The goal of this project is two-fold: (1) to help facilitate Dr. Rajeev Ramchand’s entry into research on drug abuse and HIV/AIDS; and (2) to assess the role of behavioral intentions on drug-using and sexual behaviors that increase the risk of HIV infection. To accomplish these complementary objectives, Dr. Ramchand, a psychiatric epidemiologist by training and now an associate behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, will collect anonymous data from gay and bisexual men attending a circuit party both before and after the event. This research will provide insight into the role of intentions on risky behaviors among a group of individuals at high risk for HIV infection, and the results can be used to identify optimal intervention strategies for this group at these potentially risky venues.

So, there you have it. First and foremost, the project will further Ramchand’s career. If only we could all have $300,000 from our neighbors for that purpose. The latter objective, while seemingly more noble, seems an equally odd choice for public funding. This is, after all, a behavioral science study. “Optimal intervention strategies for this group at these potentially risky venues” wouldn’t be necessary if the men involved didn’t freely choose to attend these “risky” parties or if they didn’t freely choose to engage in high risk behaviors.

That’s the primary objection Andrea Lafferty, president of Traditional Values Coalition, has to these projects, as well.

“We are not opposed to hard science,” she said in a statement. “However, our research offers example after example of widespread institutional waste at the NIH on behavioral research. While the White House and some in Congress raise the specter of cutting Social Security and Medicare, it is outrageous that the NIH continues to funnel huge amounts of taxpayer dollars for bizarre and politically correct ‘research’ to people who have made a career out of playing the federal grant game.”

Lafferty emphasized that point again in a phone interview. “This is not hard science,” she said. “This is behavioral.” Traditional Values Coalition aims to spotlight these stories — and more to come — to encourage the federal government to place a moratorium on new NIH grant awards until the grant process incorporates greater accountability measures, Lafferty said. As she explained it, now’s just not the time to waste a dime on any project that’s not truly relevant to the public health.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I want in on this research!
@RepWeiner

do i got summpin to show you…!./

ted c on July 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM

This is not hard science

er…what?

ted c on July 20, 2011 at 5:52 PM

What deficit?

rjoco1 on July 20, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Some chemist friends of mine used to say about National Science Foundation gay studies that the scientist was sucked into doing the research.

NaCly dog on July 20, 2011 at 5:54 PM

gosh, with this stuff you would think we would be running the government in a deficit……

SDarchitect on July 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I’m guessing somewhere, way up the food chain, is a guy who pushes for these studines. And when the data, reports, photos, etc. are turned into him for review, he retreats behind a locked office door with a box of tissue.

Kataklysmic on July 20, 2011 at 5:58 PM

(4) Identify the proportion of party-goers who engage in high risk behaviors at circuit parties but do not arrive intending to do so, and examine changes in these individuals’ pre- and post-party normative beliefs.

The answer is 0.0%

I cans haz $300,000?

Ted Torgerson on July 20, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Since 2008, for example, $472,286 went to a project to study noise exposure on the New York City subway (yep, it’s noisy!). More than $360,000 contributed to a study to determine whether “text message intervention” helps smokers kick their addiction (yep, reminders not to smoke help!).

If you’re going to criticize these studies, you should at least represent what they were trying to determine correctly. The question was “Is the subway noisy?” or “Do text reminders help?” but rather “How noisy is the subway and what are the effects?” and “How much do text reminders help?” and the answers to those questions can be useful. Clearly people here think these questions shouldn’t be answered by government dollars, but there’s no reason to exaggerate or distort what they were trying to do.

Also, a reminder: discretionary spending on research like this is not even remotely the main issue with the deficit; it’s a drop in the bucket.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

We are long overdue for some major budget cuts, even if we didn’t have a crushing debt problem.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

All money that would have a far better return if we spent it on research for a cure or preventive for gayness.

slickwillie2001 on July 20, 2011 at 6:01 PM

the results can be used to identify optimal intervention strategies

Teach little boys NOT to suck c0ck or take it up the arse

Tommy_G on July 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Also, a reminder: discretionary spending on research like this is not even remotely the main issue with the deficit; it’s a drop in the bucket.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

The problem is most clearly evident in these studies, but the problem that is inherent in spending other people’s money is throughout the government and needs to be vigorously fought.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

This research will provide insight into the role of intentions on risky behaviors among a group of individuals at high risk for HIV infection,

They intend to get high and get laid. That’ll be $300,000. I take PayPal.

RadClown on July 20, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Someone needs to be preparing a list of ways to stop spending dollars and have it ready to go for a conservative Republican president. Just like the democrats say that no one oil well or field is really important for American’s energy production, they say that none of the dollars spent on this junk adds up to much. We need a president to destroy the infrastructure that supports this junk and help destroy the culture of spending.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

“We are not opposed to hard science,”

The ultimate set up…

right2bright on July 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Hmmmmm.

I wonder if this really wasn’t funded for Obama’s own personal reference. ;)

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Also, a reminder: discretionary spending on research like this is not even remotely the main issue with the deficit; it’s a drop in the bucket.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

A drop in the bucket here nand a drop in the bucket there, pretty soon you end up with a whole bucket.

katiejane on July 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Maybe they’re studying the wrong people. How about a study that seeks to

(4) Identify the proportion of Congressmen and Senators who engage in blatant theft from taxpayers but do not arrive intending to do so, and examine changes in these individuals’ pre- and post-office holding normative beliefs.

Bugler on July 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Hellllllo The Pappy Plan!!!

1. Seal the border.

2. Cut Federal spending 10% across the board.

Does anyone doubt that Federal Spending doesn’t have enough crap like this story to cover a 10/20/30 % cut?

PappyD61 on July 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM

The problem is most clearly evident in these studies, but the problem that is inherent in spending other people’s money is throughout the government and needs to be vigorously fought.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM

That doesn’t mean that you should misrepresent or oversimplify the studies when making the argument. It makes debate over whether these are worthwhile harder.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:10 PM

If you’re going to criticize these studies, you should at least represent what they were trying to determine correctly. The question was “Is the subway noisy?” or “Do text reminders help?” but rather “How noisy is the subway and what are the effects?” and “How much do text reminders help?”

Ummm duuuuuuuuuuuuh! Yes subways are noisy. So are airports, train stations, concerts. Reminders of any kind have always been useful. We knew this a long time ago. Before post its even. Do we really need to fund this crap…or just use more common sense?

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Before Ernesto shows up I just have to say Ernie thinks you all just hate gay people.

CW on July 20, 2011 at 6:13 PM

That doesn’t mean that you should misrepresent or oversimplify the studies when making the argument. It makes debate over whether these are worthwhile harder.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:10 PM

You seem awfully touchy about this subject. You wouln’t by chance make your living from this kind of crap…would you?

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 6:14 PM

This is just a drop in the bucket for the the budget problem just like ANWR and the oil supply problem.

crr on dope on July 20, 2011

/sarc

CW on July 20, 2011 at 6:14 PM

tneloms pay for it yourself.

CW on July 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:10 PM

They might indeed be worthwhile studies, but it’s never a bad time to examine what our tax dollars are funding.

Bee on July 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I wonder if this really wasn’t funded for Obama’s own personal reference. ;)

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Maybe.

Rebar on July 20, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Woooohaa, we work hard, we play hard!

This link actually fits in this thread better:

http://fckh8.com/Top5Reasons/

Daemonocracy on July 20, 2011 at 6:17 PM

This link actually fits in this thread better:

Daemonocracy on July 20, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Seriously, that is one messed up and vile video.

Rebar on July 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM

That doesn’t mean that you should misrepresent or oversimplify the studies when making the argument. It makes debate over whether these are worthwhile harder.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:10 PM

How is it misrepresenting to quote the researcher’s number 1 goal was to promote his own career?

I seriously question the judgement of whoever allowed this type of thing to even be acceptable much less explicitly stated.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:33 PM

You seem awfully touchy about this subject. You wouln’t by chance make your living from this kind of crap…would you?

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Nope.

Do you actually disagree with what I’m saying (which is that you should accurately represent the studies when criticizing them in order to have a proper debate), or do you just want to make ad hominem style comments?

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:34 PM

They might indeed be worthwhile studies, but it’s never a bad time to examine what our tax dollars are funding.

Bee on July 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I agree we should examine what we’re funding, and I wasn’t even saying these are worthwhile studies (I have no idea if they are, I didn’t really look into them). I was just commenting on how they were misrepresenting, which I think hurts the debate.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM

That study intends to research the percentage of homosexual men who “engage in high risk behaviors at circuit parties but do not arrive intending to do so.”

Who cares?

Though it would be stating the obvious, if the feds would use that money to run public service announcements reminding Americans that boning each other in the a** increases their exposure to HIV by the applicable factor, that money would certainly be better spent.

BuckeyeSam on July 20, 2011 at 6:37 PM

How is it misrepresenting to quote the researcher’s number 1 goal was to promote his own career?

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:33 PM

It’s not, and I didn’t say it was. What does that have to do with what I said?

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:38 PM

One of the guys in that party pic looks a lot like Chris Matthews.

And the one in the forefront is definitely Anderson Cooper, but all of you spotted that immediately.

I think that this was the spontaneous party erupting (a graphic verb, I admit) after San Franciso City Council’s passage of the ordinance outlawing circumcision.

I guess they will be expecting an abundance of ant-eaters on the scene in the Castro district in the next 15 – 20 years.

molonlabe28 on July 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

or do you just want to make ad hominem style comments?

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:34 PM

I think such comments are appropriate for all of the federal appropriators.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 20, 2011 at 6:57 PM

It’s not, and I didn’t say it was. What does that have to do with what I said?

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:38 PM

The only parts of the post that are not factually accurate are two parenthetical remarks that are clearly intended to be humor. Looking at the study abstract, the study is just not compelling. They basically conclude that they need another two years of research to compare the noise level of the subways to everyday life. That additional two years is basically to answer the question “OK, subways are loud, but are they louder than other things?”

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Seriously, that is one messed up and vile video.

Rebar on July 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Those people need our prayers.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Until the U.S. budget is balanced, I think it is time to stop funding future government grants and research projects.

Any projects that are considered absolutely essential for the safety or security of the country could be approved by a vote of Congress. I don’t think studies like this one would qualify as being essential.

Other projects that are considered worthy should be able to get funding from the private sector.

wren on July 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Let’s not forget the NIH studies into drunken gay sex in Brazil or the one that examined drunken prostitutes having sex in China. Result- getting drunk leads to an increase of risky behaviour. Shocking, isn’t it?

At a time when the USA is on the verge of economic oblivion, I think it’s rather pertinent to ask just how much money is being wasted on programs like this, and not just at NIH but throughout the Federal government.

Jay Mac on July 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

It’s a party in the USGay……

di butler on July 20, 2011 at 7:05 PM

AIDS funding has crowded out all other health funding in order to find a cure for a disease that impairs unbridled sexual nirvana 4 da gheys.

Not bad for a special interest group to make all other diseases a meaningless footnote.

rickyricardo on July 20, 2011 at 7:06 PM

has anyone listened to internet radio broadcasts?

All of them are filled with pulic service announcements directing them to government websites of multiple stripes. Much of them are pet projects of the current administration.

The money they are spending on these webs of web sites is remarkable.

rickyricardo on July 20, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Barney Frank has worked himself into a lather again…

(Eeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!)

Seven Percent Solution on July 20, 2011 at 7:09 PM

AIDS funding has crowded out all other health funding in order to find a cure for a disease that impairs unbridled sexual nirvana 4 da gheys.

Not bad for a special interest group to make all other diseases a meaningless footnote.

rickyricardo on July 20, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Makes you wonder why decades ago, teh gheys pressured the medical establishment to drop the original name for AIDS, which was “GRID” (gay-related immune disorder). It was spread worldwide by homosexuals, & it is owned politically by homosexuals.

itsnotaboutme on July 20, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Why do they have sex like this? Because they’re morally bankrupt. As is anyone who cheats on a spouse, or partner ,or just does it for fun.

Heteros have sex too. No studies? Why the hell should any of us fund this? The answers to it , are no brainers. It’s easier to slip and fail, than to rise above and succeed. Period. That is why we ask God to lead us from temptation and deliver us from evil.

Any amount of money spent to study this, is to much.

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I’d like $500,000 to study the effects of living debt free on a middle aged unemployed graphic designer.

Thank You.

Stephen Macklin on July 20, 2011 at 7:17 PM

It’s not, and I didn’t say it was. What does that have to do with what I said?

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:38 PM

-
One another thread… chasing your own tail might not be so funny…
-

RalphyBoy on July 20, 2011 at 7:20 PM

RalphyBoy on July 20, 2011 at 7:20 PM

-
Of course I meant… ‘On another thread…’
-
I was just laughing so much at his defending the whole waste of money by picking nits that I couldn’t speel… (sic)
-

RalphyBoy on July 20, 2011 at 7:23 PM

UK Researchers are hard at work on the obvious as well:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14204717

Medieval suits of armour were so exhausting to wear that they could have affected the outcomes of famous battles, a study suggests.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Heteros have sex too. No studies? Why the hell should any of us fund this?…That is why we ask God to lead us from temptation and deliver us from evil.

Any amount of money spent to study this, is to much.

capejasmine on July 20, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Why do they get all of these govt spending projects?
1) Homosexuals are a minority, which endears them to big-govt types.
2) Homosexuals tend to vote liberal, further endearing themselves to libs.
3) Homosexuals are wealthier per capita (no kids) than the rest of us, making them the unquestioned darlings of the Marxist set.

itsnotaboutme on July 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM

What is it, one out of every five gay men has hiv. I could only imagine what their std rate would be. For straights, I think it’s somewhere around 50% has had an std once in their life.

IR-MN on July 20, 2011 at 8:14 PM

it’s a drop in the bucket.

tneloms on July 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Easily said for all of those drops in a bucket. Enough drops and suddenly the bucket is full.

chemman on July 20, 2011 at 9:39 PM

That study intends to research the percentage of homosexual men who “engage in high risk behaviors at circuit parties but do not arrive intending to do so.” In other words, the project seeks to determine why gay men use drugs and have sex at night-into-day, professionally produced, highly publicized dance parties.

The answer is apparent a priori. This is the reason for these parties i.e. high risk sexual behavior. Risks even with the use of condoms are very high. A better study would examine why gay men engage in receptive anal intercourse and fellatio with strangers. Perhaps an understanding of this behavior would yield successful, life saving interventions. I’m guessing that’s a vain hope given what is known about gay male sexual behavior but it might have a beneficial and enlightening spillover effect into political and social discourse about gay public policy issues.

Mason on July 20, 2011 at 11:04 PM

Medieval suits of armour were so exhausting to wear that they could have affected the outcomes of famous battles, a study suggests.

pedestrian on July 20, 2011 at 7:26 PM

I want a $500,000 grant to study my theory that lots of people getting killed also had an effect on the outcome of battles. I think there’s a connection but I’m just not there yet.

Trafalgar on July 21, 2011 at 7:52 AM

Their next study: Does your d!ck smell like sh!t after f***ing another guy up the @$$.

DethMetalCookieMonst on July 21, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Whenever you read a story about the spread of drug resistant AIDS, remember one thing: the reason the virus is drug resistant is that people who had been treated for AIDS with various drugs, and were thus fully aware of their medical condition, decided to behave in a manner that spread their infections to others.

Laurence on July 21, 2011 at 8:06 AM

More slamming of gays……by the usual posters. The circuit parties are dumb. Should federal or any taxpayer money be spent on studying it ….no.

SC.Charlie on July 21, 2011 at 8:44 AM

So infrequent that I can comment on two parts of the same story. First from research on the hearing of all employees tested that work in the subways system – all have some level of hearing loss within five years.
As a bouncer in a major club in Manhattan, I have worked gay parties and can tell you the drug use and behavior is way over the top. Behavior that would be unacceptable at normal club events has a blind eyed turned toward it. The gay parties have no violence problems and make gobs (sorry) of money as the patrons spend money like water (for water lol)and do not plan long lives.
In conversations with people at these parties (a few always want to be your friend – yuk) there is some real psychological problems in this group. 1- most hate themselves for what they are and do 2- they take drugs to stop hating themselves and what they do (for at least a little while) 3- many are suicidal 4- they are crueler to each other than one can imagine ( I had two FDNY tell me they were there to find a young guy to ruin – yes I saw their IDs and yes they left with a young guy) 5- don’t believe the entertainment media where the gay character is the nicest, most generous, thoughtful person – its not true – in fact they may be worse than the general public.

Now I will take my $500K

StuckinliberalNY on July 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM