The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, June 09, 2008

UPDATED WHO: No AIDS Pandemic for Heterosexuals

Let me start this off by saying that AIDS is a horrible disease that I would not wish on anyone, and the purpose of this post is not to downplay either the disease or those who suffer from it (nor those more at risk...).

With that said, I have always thought that the whole heterosexual AIDS propaganda was just that: it had much more to do with politically motivated activist groups and their agenda than it did real science. Today this suspicion seems to have been borne out by the World Health Organization:

A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.

In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organisations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO’s department of HIV/Aids said there will be no generalised epidemic of Aids in the heterosexual population outside Africa.

Dr De Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognised that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.

Dr De Cock said: “It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in other countries. Ten years ago a lot of people were saying there would be a generalised epidemic in Asia – China was the big worry with its huge population. That doesn’t look likely. But we have to be careful. As an epidemiologist it is better to describe what we can measure. There could be small outbreaks in some areas.”

In 2006, the Global Fund for HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis, which provides 20 per cent of all funding for Aids, warned that Russia was on the cusp of a catastrophe. An estimated 1 per cent of the population was infected, mainly through injecting drug use, the same level of infection as in South Africa in 1991 where the prevalence of the infection has since risen to 25 per cent.

This is not intended to be a gay bashing post; not at all. Yes, heterosexuals have gotten AIDS, especially women sleeping around with bisexual men. But I have never quite bought into the "we're all at equal risk" meme. Some men in third world countries have undoubtedly gotten AIDS. How did they get it? I wasn't there. I will stipulate that there has undoubtedly been some heterosexual transmission--especially in populations heavily interacting with prostitutes and bisexuals. But I have never believed that AIDS was in danger of reaching epidemic proportions in the heterosexual population in advanced societies like the US. I always suspected that the motivation was more politically motivated in nature than it was hard science. I had no proof; but now it seems that I was right about my suspicion all along.

I cannot tell you how angry this story makes me; not because it confirmed my suspicions, but because it speaks to just how much misinformation we get from our media and from the institutions we expect us to inform us truthfully. When you consider the whole guilt-ridden religious cult of "we caused Global Warming"--which has everything to do with political agendas and nothing whatsoever to do with real science; and when you think of how critical the dissemination of truthful information is in the successful operation of any Democracy, there is quite frankly no excuse for our public continuing to sit by as stories like this come out and not punishing those responsible for peddling this misinformation, even as they tell us who we should vote for (because of course they play along to get along...).

AIDS is a horrible disease and there is no question that researching its cause has caused scientific progress in knowledge about viruses. That knowledge could come in handy. But it is also a fact that heart disease and cancer kills more people in the developed world every year than AIDS does. How many lives would have been saved had more resources been steered in that direction? Will I lose my life sooner, or some other loved one, because the media perpetuated a myth to protect against bigotry? So: lying about the truth to serve some elites' notion of "fairness" is worth pulling the wool over 300 million citizens who are supposed to be making the decsions about who governs this country and how? Is it worth losing even one more life than otherwise would have been lost?

For me it should never be a question of what is politically correct (or not), it should be a statistical and scientific numbers game. There are only so many research dollars available to spend on science every year: is it so much to ask that we put that money to the best use for everyone? Is it so much to ask that we question not how many gay lives would have been saved (or from bigotry) or how many heterosexual lives would have been saved--rather that we question how many overall lives (past, present, and future) would have been saved had the truth been told from the beginning?

Yes, there would have been danger of even greater anti-homosexual backlash than what actually happened; but that threat did not justify the arguable possibility of killing more people to protect against the backlash. We deserved to be told the truth--and then to make our collective decisions accordingly; the fact that we were not, that we were lied to for someone's notion of a "greater good"--just as we are not now being told the truth about "man-made" climate change, which is a multi-billion dollar industry--is sickening...and it has to stop. Or else the American experiment will cease to exist as a great idea.

We are at the precipice of a potential catastrophe in this country: the wrong moves by an unprepared, ideologically obtuse, or otherwise weak-kneed leader today could send us into a devastating economic tailspin, as surely as the bone-headed tarriffs and tax incrases did in the 1930's. Alternatively, the utopian fools in the Democrat party could by their "feel good" ignorance cost us a city--millions of American lives snuffed out in a flash--followed by global economic collapse and who knows what kind of retaliatory response. All because we refused to take seriously the determination, zeal and wherewithal of powerful religious zealots who could make it happen. It has happened before, and not that long ago.

We may well be on the cliff's edge of a real existential crisis--one that we have not faced since the 1860's; yet we are pretending to be having an election about health care and climate change, for God's sake. When are we going to wake the hell up?

UPDATE: James Taranto adds (among other relevant points):

None of this is to gainsay concern over AIDS in Africa, which is a genuine catastrophe. But the dire warnings of the 1980s that everyone was at risk from AIDS turned out to be false. Those warnings made for more gripping journalism, of course, and they also served certain ideological interests. Social conservatives, who believed sex outside marriage was wrong, were able to argue that it was dangerous as well. (To be fair, it is, but not nearly as much so as the late-'80s AIDS reportage would have had us believe.)

Gay-rights advocates, meanwhile, overcame a huge threat to their cause. Without the heterosexual AIDS scare, it is unlikely that homosexuality would have achieved the degree of public acceptance it has since the 1980s. Indeed, gays might have found themselves abandoned by liberals, who today tend to value hygiene over individual freedom (and if you don't believe us, try walking into a gay bar in New York City and lighting a cigarette).

The AIDS epidemic that wasn't is one reason we are skeptical of global warmism, another purported cataclysm that is supposedly just around the corner, that is purportedly based on science but about which one may not ask questions, and that dovetails conveniently with pre-existing ideological agendas.

Ten or 20 years hence, will we be reading articles about the U.N. admitting that global warming wasn't all it was cracked up to be? Let's hope so.

DiscerningTexan, 6/09/2008 09:14:00 PM |