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Home Truths about AIDS

Jun 16, 2008

Put together one part political correctness, one part minority group activism and intimidation, and one part infectious disease, and what do you get? The world’s first politically protected disease. Of course these sorts of things are not often said, but they need to be said.

Indeed, some people have been saying such things for quite some time now. Back in 1988 Lawrence and Brian McNamee penned a book entitled The Nation’s First Politically Protected Disease. In it they noted the bizarre situation we find ourselves in with regard to the way we deal with HIV/AIDS.

Instead of treating it like any other infectious disease, and using all the normal procedures to contain the disease and keep it from spreading into the wider community, we in fact positively encouraged it by politicising it. As the authors put it back then:

“Self interest groups, as exemplified by the gay community, have influenced representatives of the medical community, politicians, and a sympathetic national press in a misguided effort to obscure public focus and protect a lifestyle. This effort has necessarily emasculated existing public health policies and effectively made AIDS the first politically protected disease in history.”

So intent were our ruling elites to not in any way offend the homosexual community, that they threw caution to the wind and abandoned long-standing medical policies and common sense. Instead of following standard epidemiological practice, we instead bent over backwards – no pun intended – to placate the noisy homosexual lobby.

Thus instead of focusing on the real at-risk groups in the West – homosexual men and intravenous drug users – our policy makers targeted everyone. Heterosexuals were told they could just as easily get AIDS as homosexuals. But this was simply not true – at least in places like America and Australia. (The spread of HIV/AIDS in the heterosexual community in Africa and Asia is an altogether different story, and not the focus of this article.)

So huge amounts of public money were wasted on targeting the wrong group, while ignoring the real target group. When conservatives tried to point this out they were ridiculed and vilified by the homosexual lobby and their media sympathisers, and labeled homophobic and intolerant.

But what happens when someone says the same thing, but is decidedly not of the so-called Religious Right? That is what has just happened in the English Guardian newspaper. Not exactly known as a rightwing rag, the paper ran an important article last week that deserves wide reading.

Entitled “The exploitation of Aids,” Brendan O’Neill argues that the “Aids scare was one of the most distorted, duplicitous and cynical public health panics of the last 30 years”. He begins his article with these words:

“Finally we have a high-level admission that there is no threat of a global Aids pandemic among heterosexuals. After 25 years of official scaremongering about western societies being ravaged by the disease – with salacious, tombstone-illustrated government propaganda warning people to wear a condom or ‘die of ignorance’ – the head of the World Health Organisation’s HIV/Aids department says there is no need for heterosexuals to fret.”

He continues, “Kevin de Cock, who has headed the global battle against Aids, said at the weekend that, outside very poor African countries, Aids is confined to ‘high-risk groups’, including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers. And even in these communities it remains quite rare. ‘It is very unlikely there will be a heterosexual epidemic in countries [outside sub-Saharan Africa]’, he said. In other words? All that hysterical fearmongering about Aids spreading among sexed-up western youth was a pack of lies.”

He goes on to discuss how “the Aids bureaucracy” knew for decades that this disease was not going to spread into the general community, but for various reasons went along with the deceptive panic-mongering anyway. “Instead of being treated as a sexually transmitted disease that affected certain high-risk communities, and which should be vociferously tackled by the medical authorities, the ‘war against Aids’ was turned into moral crusade.”

And a crusade it was. Those who dared to question the conventional wisdom were denounced and censored: “Those who challenged the idea that Aids would devour sexually promiscuous young people and transform once-civilised western societies into diseased dystopias were denounced as ‘Aids deniers’ and ‘heretics’. Anyone who suggested that homosexuals were at greater risk than heterosexuals – and therefore the focus of government funding and, where necessary, medical assistance should be in gay communities – was denounced as homophobic. Nothing could be allowed to stand in the way of the glorious moral effort to make everyone submit to the sexual and moral conformism of the Aids crusaders.”

“Even in Africa – where there is a serious and deadly Aids crisis in some countries – the international focus on Aids has been motivated more by pernicious moralism than straightforward charity. Diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are bigger killers than Aids. Yet focusing on Aids allows western governments and NGOs to lecture Africans about their morality and personal behaviour. It also adds a new gloss to the misanthropic population-control arguments of western charities, which now present their promotion of condoms in ‘overly fecund’ Africa as a means of preventing the spread of disease.”

O’Neill concludes, “The relentless politicisation and moralisation of Aids has not only distorted public understanding of the disease and generated unnecessary fear and angst – it has also potentially cost lives. James Chin estimates that UNAIDS wastes around $1bn a year in activities such as ‘raising awareness’ about Aids and preventing the emergence of the disease in communities that are at little risk. How many lives could that kind of money save, if it were used to develop drugs and deliver them to infected or at-risk communities? It is time people treated Aids as a normal disease, rather than as an opportunity for spreading their own moral agendas.”

One would have thought that the medical community would always put the interests and welfare of the general community ahead of special interests. But evidently not. Political Correctness and activist minority groups seem to win the day, with a biased media and political stooges going along for the ride. And in the meantime lives are lost, just to protect a lifestyle.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/12/aids.health

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