Your tax dollars at work.

When I first read this story last night I assumed that I’d simply nodded off on the couch and slipped into a dream where I was living in the world of Idiocracy. Sadly, I was still wide awake and discovered that your tax money is going into some new preventative health studies to keep the youth of our nation safe. That’s generally not a bad thing in and of itself, but before we go sinking half a million dollars of grant money into a project, don’t you think somebody could have told the Washington DC brain trust that getting drunk, smoking crack and having unprotected sex with random strangers might constitute a health risk? (MRC TV)

The federal government is spending $437,739 in taxpayer dollars for psychology students at Kalamazoo College to study whether getting drunk and sleeping around will increase a person’s chances of getting HIV.

No, really.

According to from the Michigan-based school, the National Institute of Health awarded the nearly half-million dollars so researchers could figure out whether drinking, using drugs and not using condoms might actually have an impact on an African American person’s chances of catching the deadly sexually-transmitted disease.

I’m sure there must be more to it than that. Nobody could be…

Well, let’s take a look at the original grant.

The majority of research on HIV risk in African Americans has been based on samples of injection drug users and men who have sex with men. While useful, this limited scope may obscure the nature and degree of risk in other groups, such as those in partnerships involving alcohol and recreational drug use as well as partnerships in which condoms may be seldom used.

Can you direct me to the office where these grants are issued? I have a few projects of my own that could use some funding. For example, I have a running study which has been ongoing since the 1970s to quantify the long term effects of drinking several martinis a day on cognitive abilities. I’ve been forced to use human subjects because you simply can’t train the mice to hold a proper martini glass without breaking it. The costs are mounting and I could really use some of the sweet Uncle Sam cash to continue my research.

As it turns out, Kalamazoo is quite the well regarded institute. They scored particularly well on the new federal scorecards issued to demonstrate how much of a salary graduates were pulling in after graduation. Sure, it’s a liberal arts school, but they probably have their share of drug and alcohol abuse issues, so a study like this might be right up their alley. All we need to do now is find a group of students who like to drink and get high, follow them back to their dorms and see how many come down with a deadly, sexually transmitted disease.

MRC TV finds that there’s clearly a silver lining to this investment of your tax dollars.

All in all, studying whether these drunken hook-ups actually lead to greater HIV-risk may allow for the creation of intervention programs (which will probably require even more taxpayer funding) to inform people that, perhaps, shacking up with multiple partners while being three-sheets-to-the-wind isn’t such a great idea.

We should get these study results out to all the schools around the nation as soon as they’re available. This is some groundbreaking stuff, folks. And at the bargain price of a half million…