The AIDS Agenda

By Dr. F. LaGard Smith Posted: Thu. Feb 1st 1996
In this chapter, Dr. Smith explodes the myth's surrounding heterosexual AIDS and traces the history and politicization of this issue.

Taken from Sodom's Second Corning: What You Need to Know About the Deadly Homosexual Assault by F. LaGard Smith, Harvest House Publishers, 1993. Used by permission.

The year was 1987. Oprah Winfrey dramatically opened her show, "Women Living with AIDS," with the ominous words:

Hello, everybody. AIDS has both sexes running scared. Research studies now project that one in five - listen to me, hard to believe - one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That's by 1990. One in five. It is no longer just a gay disease. Believe me. 1

We are now several years beyond 1990. Not one in five, nor one in ten, nor even one in a hundred heterosexuals have died from AIDS as Oprah predicted. In fact, not one in 3500 heterosexuals have died from AIDS!

In just over a decade since AIDS was first diagnosed (in 1981), a total of 70,000 nongays have died from the disease, the vast majority of whom were intravenous drug abusers, followed far behind by a combination of hemophiliacs and those receiving blood transfusions infected with HIV, and a somewhat larger percentage of heterosexuals of Haitian or East African descent. What this means for heterosexuals of all categories is that, out of 250 million Americans, only .0003 percent have died in a decade from AlDS-related deaths!

It's not just Oprah, of course, who predicted the gloom. She was in good company. Teamed together with the media, the former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop had launched a campaign to "inform" America that not only was AIDS easily transmitted among heterosexuals, but that soon the "epidemic" would reach astronomical proportions.

In the same year that Oprah made her dramatic prediction, across the ocean in Great Britain the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre advised the Government to expect 3000 new cases (both heterosexual and homosexual) to be diagnosed in the following year. As it turned out, there were only 755 cases (predominantly homosexual). A forecast made only one year ahead was wrong by a factor of 400 per- cent! 2

Global predictions have been equally excessive. The U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted catastrophe for years among heterosexuals worldwide - a catastrophe which has yet to take place. As we will see momentarily, its predictions - focusing mainly on the continent of Africa - may have been based upon a number of false premises.

Both at home and around the globe, the coming heterosexual AIDS apocalypse has been - and for the most part continues to be - conventional wisdom. But where is the evidence? Why hasn't it happened? Did that many promiscuous heterosexuals immediately stop sleeping around? Did the panicky use of condoms bring the predicted epidemic to a screeching halt? If so, how do we account for an almost minuscule number of AlDS-related deaths resulting from the wide-open sexual activity going on in the incubation years before AIDS was discovered and the brakes put on?

It just doesn't add up. Rampant heterosexual AIDS is a myth!

You've Got a Transmission Problem

To say that heterosexual AIDS is a myth is not to say that heterosexuals can't have AIDS. Thousands of heterosexuals have AIDS or have been diagnosed as HlV-positive. As we have already seen, however, the vast majority of such heterosexuals are in the high-risk intravenous drug-abuser group. On the other hand, sadly, there are also completely innocent victims of the disease who did nothing at all to bring it on themselves. Most of these contracted AIDS through tainted blood transfusions (like tennis great Arthur Ashe) or through infections which were passed on to children by their infected mothers.

A case in point demonstrates both the good news and the bad news of heterosexual AIDS. People all across the nation were saddened to learn that Elizabeth Glaser, wife of actor/ director Paul Michael Glaser (who played Starsky on the '70's detective show "Starsky and Hutch") had contracted the virus in 1981 through a blood transfusion received after giving birth to her daughter.

The bad news was compounded when she unknowingly passed the disease on to her baby, Ariel, through breast milk. Seven-year-old Ariel eventually died of AIDS complications in 1988. Their son, Jake, was also infected in utero before the Glasers knew Elizabeth was HlV-positive.

The good news is that Paul Michael never contracted the disease. And as he put it, "Until we found out that our family was infected, Elizabeth and I had a natural sexual relationship. I wasn't infected by either child, and they did everything a child can do to a parent. They bled on me, they crapped on me, they hugged me, and they kissed me. And I still don't have it." 3

Elizabeth Glaser's Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a poignant reminder of the passivity with which HIV and AIDS can be received. In far too many cases, AIDS has walked in uninvited. To that extent, AIDS is not exclusively a gay disease, and deserves every effort we can make to control it.

On the other hand, we have to be careful in assessing the extent of its impact through heterosexual intercourse. Paul Michael Glaser's case tells us what any number of other studies are also showing: that AIDS is extremely difficult to get.

University of California's Nancy Padian, often referred to as the queen of partner studies because of her vast work in the field, reports that only about 20 percent of women who sleep with HlV-positive men over a period of years become infected. And for infection going in the other direction - from infected women to uninfected men - the figures are even less. Far less! "Of 61 HIV-positive women studied, only one transmitted the virus to her partner - and that was as a result of a highly unusual sex life." 4

What these and other studies show is that, statistically, it is unlikely (though possible) for HIV to be transferred from a man to a woman through acts of vaginal intercourse. And the odds of it being passed from a woman to a man through vaginal intercourse are simply negligible. 5

Further proof of the difficulty of female-to-male transmission is found in the mandatory health checks required of prostitutes in Nevada, where brothels are legal. The 32 legal brothels take in some 600,000 "dates" each year. Despite the busy traffic in heterosexual sex, not one case of HIV infection has been reported among the brothel's many "working girls." 6 The reason for the relatively rare instances of people being infected through heterosexual contact is that, without some other factor being involved, there is simply a serious transmission problem.

How HIV Travels

The often-repeated phrase "exchange of body fluids" is itself misleading. You don't catch AIDS from toilet seats, airborne bacteria, insect bites, or even saliva or urine. That is why we have no reason to shun AIDS victims as if merely touching them will infect us. They are not lepers!

And as indicated above, normal heterosexual intercourse (and probably in most cases even oral sex) is not a good vehicle for HIV transmission. HIV, which usually (though not always) leads to AIDS, is a "blood-borne" virus. For the HIV infection to be transmitted, it must have some passage whereby it may enter the bloodstream. Without such an entry, there can be no infection. 7 Again, remember what Glaser said about his children bleeding on him. That kind of blood contact wasn't a threat.

What this means is that normal heterosexual intercourse (vaginal) is typically not suited to HIV transmission, whereas homosexual intercourse (anal) definitely is. With the latter, there is frequently a skin breakage that occurs during the act, usually to both parties. The same is not true of vaginal intercourse. (Sex during a woman's menstruation could possibly alter this scenario, but even then it would probably require the man to have an open lesion.)

Even where there is no skin breakage, the risks of anal intercourse are greatly enhanced because of the functional nature of the rectum. In rather simple terms, the walls of the rectum are porous, or absorbent, so that the last bit of nutrients entering the body can get into the bloodstream before being totally eliminated. That absorbency can be the HIV's best friend.

Vaginal-penile sex may be more apt to transmit HIV if the partners already have any other sexually-transmitted diseases (STD's), but this is still associated with the blood system. Sores, ulcers, and lesions caused by the STD's can open up pathways for the virus-infected semen to travel into the bloodstream.

The fact that typical HIV transmission occurs through anal intercourse explains why lesbians - although homosexuals - are almost completely unaffected by AIDS. (Female-to-female transmission has been reported in one case where "a woman infected through intravenous drug abuse appeared to have transmitted HIV to a female partner through traumatic sex practices that resulted in exposure to the blood of the drug abuser." 8) Relative to lesbians, it can properly be said that AIDS is not a "gay disease."

Unfortunately for gay men, because of the unnatural way they have sex, AIDS is very definitely a "gay disease." Likewise, for intravenous drug-abusers AIDS is very definitely an "addict's disease." They too provide the conduit for HIV by sharing needles which inject not only drugs but also the "blood-borne" disease into their veins.

As a "gay disease," AIDS is not even the most frequent blood-borne disease affecting homosexuals. That dubious honor goes to Hepatitis B, which, being one hundred times more infectious than AIDS, kills more people in a day than AIDS does in a year. 9 According to one authority, Hepatitis B "infects the majority of homosexual men within three years of their becoming sexually active."10

Other False-Positive Theories

The doomsayers can be excused for having made wildly wrong predictions, because knowing what AIDS is all about has been a difficult learning process in what necessarily has been a crash course. We simply haven't understood the disease well enough, and have therefore erred on the side of caution.

One of the early misconceptions about the disease was the supposed ability of the infection to travel rapidly via sexual intercourse from one person to another and to another and to another, after first being obtained from an initial member in one of the high-risk groups. That is how other sexually-transmitted diseases (STD's), like gonorrhea and syphilis, spread.

That is what is so mystifying about HIV relative to heterosexuals. With heterosexuals, it works the exact opposite way from all other STD's. STD's thrive on multiple partners, or promiscuity. But HIV will be transmitted, if at all, only after significant sexual contact with the same partner.

The belief that the virus would be transmitted rapidly to distant third parties probably accounts for all the doomsday figures. But the fact is that, if such transmission happens at all, it happens only in the rare case. Virtually all cases have been members of high-risk groups and their immediate sexual partners. 11

Enter Ervin "Magic" Johnson. I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the broadcast. In my memory, the shocking news will always stand right up there along with President Kennedy's assassination and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. I was a diehard Lakers - and Magic Johnson - fan. My mind raced: "Magic has tested positive for HIV? Like everyone else in America, I simply couldn't believe it!"

Looking back, I suspect that gay activists, while struck by the tragedy like all the rest of us, had other thoughts as well, since this universally admired superstar was proof positive that even heterosexuals could get HIV. After all, hadn't Magic confessed to "accommodating as many women as possible"? What more proof could you ask for? "If it can happen to Magic, it can happen to anybody."

We may never know for sure how Magic contracted the disease. What we do know is that it's unlikely he got it through "third party" transmission. This fact suggests contact with someone in a high-risk group - in other words, blood-related contact. It galls me to even think it, but if Magic hasn't told us the whole truth about how he contracted the virus, then he has some serious apologies to make to the media, to his fans, and particularly to the young people who look up to him on the subject of AIDS.

However he got it, one simply has to ask why Magic's wife, Cookie, did not test HIV-positive, despite a longstanding sexual relationship with Magic. Or why we haven't had a rash of major news conferences announcing the infection of Wilt Chamberlain (who claims 20,000 sexual partners) or other NBA superstuds with similar sexual habits as Wilt and Magic.

No matter how well-intended, Magic's crusade for kids to use condoms misses the whole point. Unless they are part of some other high-risk group, their risk is not from unprotected heterosexual intercourse. Their greatest risk - ever present - is a moral risk, and not all the magic condoms in the world can spare them from its spiritual consequences.

Finally, what could prove to be a third major problem with the predictions of heterosexual AIDS is surfacing more each day in the escalating debate over whether HIV is the cause of AIDS. Several experts are beginning to question even that sacred cow. Among them, Professor Peter Duesberg, virologist at the University of California, argues that HIV itself is harmless and must be related to other factors in order for it to end up as AIDS. 12

The coming months and years are likely to see the rise and fall of one theory after another regarding HIV and AIDS. The bottom line, however, is that at this point there is simply no evidence of widespread heterosexually transmitted infection in the United States and western Europe.

Out of Africa: More Fiction

However, if you listen to the World Health Organization and to virtually all major AIDS research bodies, you will hear a chorus of voices telling you that Africa is in the grip of a heterosexual AIDS epidemic, and that the continent is being devastated by HtV. According to WHO, we can expect half a million sub-Saharan Africans to die from AIDS each year by the turn of the century - all because of unprotected heterosexual sex. 13

But is it true? Is the African "heterosexual AIDS" experience a dire warning to the West of what could happen to us?

Right off the bat, one would do well to consider carefully what is meant by the term heterosexual AIDS. As typically used, the term refers to AIDS which is acquired through heterosexual sex. That's what all the television warnings are about. That's what the new-moralists are talking about when they encourage "safe sex" through the use of condoms.

But it is easy - especially in Africa - to get caught in the trap of saying that there is evidence of "heterosexual AIDS" (AIDS transmitted through heterosexual intercourse) simply because people who have AIDS (from whatever cause) happen to be heterosexual. To personalize the point, Elizabeth Glaser and her daughter Ariel are properly classified under the heading "heterosexual AIDS" (because they were both heterosexuals when they were infected); but this doesn't mean that either of them acquired the disease as a result of heterosexual sex.

Just because thousands of heterosexuals in Africa have been diagnosed as having AIDS doesn't mean that they acquired it through heterosexual relations.

That said, it is even more important to appreciate that just because thousands of heterosexuals in Africa have been diagnosed as having AIDS doesn't necessarily mean that they either actually have AIDS or that it was caused by HIV. Study after study is beginning to show that AIDS diagnosis in Africa is faulty on a grand scale. Dr. Harvey Bialy, Scientific Editor of Biotechnology, a sister publication to the science journal Nature, has been visiting Africa since 1975 and has spent eight years there. 14 Dr. Bialy says that HIV tests in Africa react to non-HlV antibodies as well as to HIV itself, producing up to 80 to 90 percent false-positives. "There is vast literature showing this," he emphasizes.15

Even in America, it is well-known that the HtV tests can often produce false-positives, and multiple tests are recommended to confirm HIV findings. In Africa, where there is even less funding to support HIV testing, there is simply no opportunity in most cases to verify initial screening, if there is any test at all. What relatively few tests are given which indicate that the patient is HlV-positive are accepted at face value and added to the burgeoning statistics.

As suggested in the careful wording of the previous paragraph, most AIDS diagnosis in Africa involaes no HIV testing whatsoever. Diagnosis is made on the basis of a standard Clinical Case Definition which looks at a combination of symptoms (fever, pronounced weight loss, diarrhea, and prolonged, dry cough) - all of which are virtually indistinguishable from other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. As a result, almost all malaria and TB cases are diagnosed today as AIDS - and so they too end up in the grim statistics. 16

The plain fact is that "AIDS" in Africa is as likely to be related to poverty, malnutrition, inadequate medical supplies, and bad water as to HIV.

In the Ivory Coast, the relationship between AIDS and HIV is particularly suspect. In one maternity clinic in Koumassi, for example, there is a higher incidence of HIV than in the West, but there is not a frequent progression to AIDS. At the same time, many women are classed as HIV-negative, yet they meet the definitions for AIDS! 17 It suggests once again that there must be cofactors which make possible the progression from HIV to AIDS.

Among the interesting data from Uganda is another study among a hundred discordant heterosexual couples (one partner originally testing positive, the other negative). Over a two-year period, both partners became HlV-positive in only five of the couples. The significance? In 95 percent of the couples, HIV had not been passed on through heterosexual intercourse. 18 (That mirrors the studies already noted in the United States.)

The raw statistics alone are enough to make one sit up and take notice that something is odd indeed about the research figures coming out of Africa. Since 1984, in the West one million people have been diagnosed as having HfV, yet there are only 129,000 reported cases of AIDS. 19 How does that stack up with 1) all the horror stories about Africa, or 2) the validity of AIDS diagnosis in the dark continent?

In Tanzania, volunteers working for Partage, a French charity in aid of adoptions, asked its staff of 160 people and a whole village of 842 people to undergo HIV testing. The results were only 5 percent (among the staff) and 13.8 percent (among the villagers) who were HlV-positive. The results were five times lower than WHO's statistics for the region. 20

In fact, AIDS research in Africa is severely criticized by local health officials for focusing in on some particularly chosen "epicenter" and then extrapolating the results as if they accurately represented a much larger region or even an entire nation. 21

In the same light, Africa's prostitutes are getting a lot of attention from AIDS researchers, with their obvious potential for verifying heterosexual AIDS. And sure enough, the studies come back one after another confirming what the researchers hoped to find: a high incidence of AIDS among the prostitutes. Local health officials complain that foreign researchers pack up and leave after gathering figures for research purposes rather than assessing the figures for patient care. Hardly anyone stays around long enough to consider that the use of hard drugs among prostitutes has greatly escalated over the same period as the rise in AIDS.According to Dr. Bialy, "The only utterly new phenomenon I have seen is in the drug-using prostitutes in Abidjan in the Ivory Coast," he said. "These girls come from Ghana, from families of prostitutes who are brought in by the bus-load. They have been doing this for generations, and never became sick until now."

So why now? And why do they look like they have AIDS? "What is new is that these girls are addicted to viciously adulterated, smokable heroin and cocaine. It completely destroys them. They look exactly like the inner-city crack-addicted prostitutes of the United States." 22 Bialy's overall conclusion about Africa and AIDS? "There is absolutely no believable, persuasive evidence that Africa is in the midst of a new epidemic of infectious immunodeficiency."23

Assuming some avenue of blood transmission through one's skin, Dr. John Seale puts the prostitution issue in stark perspective: "You are more likely to get AIDS by helping an African prostitute clean up after a nose-bleed than by having sex with her." 24

Perhaps the most compelling bit of evidence coming out of Africa is the study reported in The Lancet by a group of Japanese doctors. Out of a group of 22 diagnosed "AIDS" patients who had all the classic clinical signs qualifying for AIDS under the WHO definition, 59 percent showed no trace of HIV in their blood. 25

And out of all the "AIDS cases" reported in Abidjan's three main hospitals, there were 2,400 "documented" cases of AIDS that turned out not to have HIV present! 26

What's the point of this statistical parade? Simply to demonstrate that there are serious questions about the African AIDS figures which have been bandied about so glibly in America as proof of so-called "heterosexual AIDS."

Reducing Human Tragedy to Politics

And what is the point of that point in a book dealing with gay rights? Hopefully, to expose the politics of AIDS, particularly as it relates to the gay movement's cry that "AIDS is an equal-opportunity destroyer." Gay activists are concerned about the stigma that would result (at least in America) from AIDS being correctly associated primarily with homosexual behavior. The implication that they wish us to draw from the myth of heterosexual AIDS is that "we're all in it together."

If we're all equally at risk (they would have us ask ourselves), then how different can we be? If AIDS affects heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, then AIDS is not a "gay disease" and should not give anyone reason to lash out at gays for the many innocent deaths which have been caused by the disease. If AIDS is more than just a "gay disease," then it can't possibly be a sign from God that homosexual behavior is sinful. Need I go on?

Most of all, promoting AIDS as equally heterosexual helped persuade the public that any classification of homosexuals was pointless and could have no other motive than in- vidious discrimination.2T

On a practical level, gay activists knew that badly needed research funds for AIDS research probably never would be received unless society felt that, as a whole, they were at risk.

And don't for a minute think that gay activists aren't aware of the enormous implications of the "heterosexual AIDS" argument. Nor that they aren't actively doing whatever it takes to keep the myth alive.

If you have any doubts, just ask Michael Fumento, former AIDS analyst for the Commission on Civil Rights. His book The Myth of Heterosexual Aids28 has been the victim of censorship by the gay lobby both in America and Britain. Bookstores in New York received letters threatening boycott if they carried the book. (I can personally testify to the book's unavailability. I nearly wore out a good pair of shoes searching New York City in vain for a copy.)

The campaign to censor Fumento's book proved so successful that now even its publisher (Basic Books) has embargoed all remaining copies. You simply cannot obtain one.

In Britain, only 20 copies of Fumento's book were imported into the United Kingdom. Following gay reaction to the serialization of his book in London's Sunday Times, no publisher would touch it. 29 Of course, innuendos of a conspiracy were vehemently denied by Britain's publishers.

Back in the States, when Forbes magazine published an article favorably profiling Fumento and his views, gay activists from ACT-UP picketed the publisher's Fifth Avenue offices. The gays won a personal capitulation from Malcolm Forbes, who said that the article was "asinine," and that he would have "killed" it had he not been traveling at the time. 30

Freedom of the press? What freedom of the press? When gay rights come to town, everybody else's constitutional rights are forced to leave. No Serbian ethnic cleansing was ever more complete. Dare question the myth of "heterosexual AIDS" and you'll have gay activists on your back before you can say "Sodom's second coming."

Putting a Price on Tragedy

Of course, it's not only the gay lobby that wants in on the action. In London, Auberon Waugh zeroes in on what he calls "the dollar dimension:"

I wonder what persuaded the Observer this week to lead its front page with the dismal headline: "New Aids virus threatens heterosexuals." Ever since people started talking about Aids 10 years ago, medical researchers have been desperately trying to convince the world that it is a heterosexual affliction, reckoning on all the billions of dollars in research budgets which might become available.
This week's scare comes from a symposium in Boston, which heard Dr. John Sullivan, of the University of Massachusetts medical centre, proclaim a global epidemic yet again. The only solution, he said, was to double biomedical research efforts and budgets. Ah yes, budgets. 31

For researchers, grants are dependent upon the myth of heterosexual AIDS. And since the figures in the United States wouldn't even begin to be sufficiently persuasive, the scientists have turned to Africa for the supposed evidence.

Dr. Bialy says that "it has become a joke in Uganda that you are not allowed to die of anything but AIDS. A favorite story is that a friend had just been run over by a car; doctors put it down as AlDS-related suicide!" 32

But the AIDS scare in Africa is no joke. The hysteria itself may have as serious side effects as the disease. Local health officials tell horror stories of people all over Africa who are so afraid that they will be diagnosed as having AIDS that they won't go to the hospital. And so they die at home of malaria or tuberculosis or simply malnutrition.

If fear doesn't kill them, they slowly waste away from despair. Why keep trying to live if they are going to die anyway? And everyone is telling them they are going to die.

The AIDS scare has turned families and villages against their own. Those who are diagnosed with AIDS are shunned and kicked out of the village. AlDS-infected homosexuals in America aren't the only ones who suffer from AIDS stigmatization.

It just doesn't get any more callous than when the gay lobby and the scientific community are willing to trade on the lives of others to put across their own agenda. In Uganda alone, the government has less than one dollar per person to spend on health care each year. Last year it received six million dollars in foreign funding for AIDS. What could be a greater incentive to classify people as AIDS sufferers?

But it gets worse. Of that six million, $750,000 came from the World Health Organization, which at the same time gave only $57,000 for the prevention and treatment of malaria, which kills an estimated one million people in sub-Saharan Africa every year. 33 Unlike AIDS, malaria is curable. But are the drugs available to do the job? No. And why? Because malaria is not a politically correct disease!

But that's still not the worst of it. The double-whammy comes when you realize that a significant number of all the reported "AIDS cases" are nothing more than curable malaria cases to begin with!

And who knows just how deceptive it gets? The World Health Organization and its colleagues in the US-AID organization are notorious for their family-planning, birth-control bias. AIDS funds go to counseling, education, and condoms - not medicine. Could there be a connection between the big budgets for condom distribution and their push for eliminating the teeming underclass in Africa?

A spokeswoman for US-AID did nor deny the bias, but demurred, saying that condoms had never been the method of choice for birth control. 34 Perhaps that is true historically, but are we to believe they wouldn't take advantage of the current AIDS hysteria and kill two birds with one stone? AIDS as a political football has never been kicked in so many different directions!

Back home, those of you who are parents should also be aware that the political football is being kicked directly at your children. It's happening in the campaign to pass out condoms on school campuses all over the country. In the past, we've been able to keep the Great Condom Giveaway - with its implied moral acceptance of promiscuity - out of the classroom. Both Christian and non-Christian parents steadfastly opposed the distribution of condoms as long as the primary risk was nothing more than teenage pregnancy. (That risk has been around for a long time.) But the supposed threat of death through AIDS if condoms weren't used by sexually active teens was a risk that few parents were willing to take.

So now, thanks to a threat that in most communities is nothing more than a gay-promoted hoax, condoms have become as much a part of the students' wardrobe as gym shorts and Reeboks. Thanks to the immorality of homosexual behavior, parents and school officials have caved in to the immorality of heterosexual behavior.

More Callous by Comparison

If someone asked you to name a disease that is reaching crisis proportions among Americans, that often ravages people in the prime of life, that does not discriminate on grounds of race or gender, and that suffers from a lack of government funding, you would probably think of AIDS. But the correct answer, of course, is cancer. 35

As Mona Charen reports, "In the 10 years since the AIDS epidemic began, about 120,000 Americans have died from the disease. During the same period, 40 times that many have succumbed to cancer." 36 And heart disease kills five times as many as AIDS in a single year!

To put it into perspective, AlDS-related deaths are not even in the top ten killers, but we pour more government money into AIDS than any other illness, despite its comparatively narrow impact. 37 AIDS research funding is already 10 times that of cancer on a per-death basis, and 20 times on a per-patient basis.38 (Certainly there is no disputing that the "start-up money" has to be spent in huge sums in order to catch up with funding for other diseases where there have been years of costly research.)

Britain's figures are similarly skewed. In 1989/90, when there were 553 AlDS-related deaths, the government spent 240 million dollars on AIDS research and education. In the same year, in which 200,000 people died from heart disease, the government spent 15 million dollars for heart research. That works out to about 75 dollars for each person who died of heart disease, and 433,000 dollars for each person who died of AIDS!

In human terms, Britain's director of the Committee on Population and the Economy, Robert Whelan, reminds us that "people will die from cancer and heart disease who would not have died if additional funds had been available. Their names will never be embroidered in a quilt, and they will never be celebrated at gala entertainments. But they will die just the same."

There is no effort here to pit AIDS sufferers against those who suffer from cancer and heart disease. No one I know would begrudge the announcement that a cure for AIDS had been discovered. No one I know wouldn't wish that we could have prevented little Ariel Glaser's death. The plea here is not to cut off funding for AIDS research. The plea is that we put everything in its proper perspective.

A large part of that process is ridding ourselves of the myth of heterosexual AIDS. As Robert Whelan puts it, "After at least 30 years in the community, AIDS remains tightly confined to members of high-risk groups, such as male homosexuals and drug addicts. The much-heralded 'homosexual explosion' has failed to materialize despite the earnestly-expressed hopes of some workers in the AIDS field." 39

Rather than reducing the current level of AIDS funding, society would do better to redirect where that money goes. Programs that aid intravenous drug-abusers in cities like New York desperately lack the funding necessary to deal with even a fraction of the demand for help. There is where the focus must shift. If there is any truth at all to the fears surrounding heterosexual AIDS, you can find it in the inner city.

In some areas of the south Bronx, 1 in 22 young mothers have tested positive for HIV. And what breaks your heart is that the same is true of 1 in 40 infants. 40 Naturally, the children aren't getting HIV from heterosexual intercourse, and their mothers aren't necessarily sleeping around. The mothers are either intravenous drug abusers themselves, or have partnered on a long-term basis with a man who is. In high-risk-group communities like the south Bronx, the escalation of AIDS among heterosexuals promises to be a continuing serious threat. For those who are caught up in a culture of cocaine and crack addiction, every penny spent on prevention of drug abuse and on AIDS research is well worth the investment.

When it comes to the highest-risk group of all, however, in the long range absolutely no public funding is needed or warranted. Finding a cure for those already infected is one thing. Let's do it if we can, as soon as we can. But preventing AIDS-related deaths among homosexual males is not a matter of medical research. Common sense tells you that, if AIDS results primarily from anal intercourse, then the solution ought to be obvious! No, not condoms, but homosexual abstinence.

In 1986/87, the taxpayer-funded National Centers for Disease Control made two grants totaling almost $675,000 to the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Inc. of New York, following its proposal to spend the money in part upon a manual for conducting "Eroticizing Safer Sex Workshops." According to the grant application, the workshops were intended to "discover and share information on how to be sexually active in low-risk ways." 41

Taxpayer-funded programs to educate gays about AIDS is a sick joke. No group of individuals knows better how AIDS is transmitted than male homosexuals. Why else do they "negotiate" safe sex? (They don't even have the excuse of addicts that their perception is so altered by drugs that they can't put two and two together.) And this gets us to the heart of the matter: What gays really want is risk-free sodomy!

Gays don't want to stop their homosexual behavior - only to pressure the government into discovering the equivalent of "the pill" for males wishing to have intercourse with each other. And then when "the pill" - whatever in the future it might turn out to be - happens to fail, they want the rest of us to foot the bill for hospitalization. At the present time, the cost of treating the average AIDS patient from diagnosis to death is $100,000.

And, of course, the quicker the government can discover a medical means of prevention, the better. But the money/time factor itself is nonsense. You get the idea among many gay activists that if twice as much money is spent on the AIDS budget, then the disease will be cured twice as fast. That if three times as much is spent, then the cure will come three times as fast. But medical research doesn't work that way. If it did, we probably would have beaten cancer and heart disease by now. 42

For homosexual males, AIDS is a self-inflicted fatality. If they want a speedy end to the crisis, it is within their own power to make it happen. (Proof of that is the statistical plateau that apparently has already been reached in the incidence of AIDS among homosexuals.) Playing on the fears of heterosexuals (and jumping the cue to get ahead of those who suffer from other diseases) in order to continue their self-destructive behavior is a callous game indeed.

Our Own Mismanagement of AIDS

One of the grand ironies of the myth of heterosexual AIDS is that it has been widely perpetuated by the Christian community. It is just one more way in which we have mismanaged the entire AIDS affair. We hurt our credibility from the very start by saying that AIDS was a plague from God specifically to single out and punish homosexuals. We didn't stop to think that lesbians were left untouched by the plague; or that many innocents were also plagued, or that the figures for white homosexuals and homosexuals from other ethnic groups were often greatly disparate. It should have been enough to say that sin always has built-in consequences, often physical consequences.

But turning around and virtually arguing against ourselves, we took up the gay movement's banner of heterosexual AIDS in order to denounce heterosexual promiscuity as well. Proclaiming the widespread heterosexual nature of the epidemic as fervently as any gay activists, we (rightly) called for sexual abstinence and monogamous, married sex. And with that proclamation in aid of a biblical cause, we played directly into the hands of the gay lobby. How they must have snickered behind our backs!

Ironically, the same Michael Fumento who angered the gays by daring to suggest that the AIDS focus ought to be on high-risk homosexuals was demoted from his position as AIDS analyst for the Reaganesque Commission on Civil Rights because he suggested that the religious and conservative right were also manipulating the AIDS crisis to their own ends. Can the Christian community not face up to self-criticism?

It must be asked, What did we gain by jumping on the gays' "heterosexual AIDS" bandwagon? Morality by fear? The previously promiscuous heterosexual who gives up sex in order to avoid AIDS is not suddenly more moral - just more practical! Although the words look very much alike, there is a vast spiritual gulf between being sacred and being scared.

Can we not see that, in using heterosexual AIDS as an argument against extramarital sex, we run the risk of having no moral persuasion left should the time come (and it likely will) when some medical prevention or cure for AIDS is discovered? Why make morality so vulnerable to science? The moral issue can, and should, stand on its own.

Whatever the issue, pragmatism is never good theology. With the myth of "heterosexual AIDS," good theology has not even been truly pragmatic. It is not the myth that we should perpetuate, but the message.


Sources

  1. "Women Living With AIDS," Oprah, transcript of Feb. 18, 1987, p.2, as quoted in Michael Fumento, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, p.3.
  2. Jenny Rees, "Cut AIDS research urges economist," in The Daily Telegraph, June 14, 1991.
  3. The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 31, 1989, Features.
  4. Mona Charen, "The Curious Ways of AIDS Activists," in Newsday, Jan. 22, 1992, Wednesday, City Ed., Viewpoints, p.76.
  5. Merle A. Sande, M.D. and Paul A. Volberding, M.D., The Medical Management of AIDS (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1988), p. 20.
  6. "Study of Brothel Prostitutes Finds Little Venereal Disease," in the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 26, 1991, Part A, p. 3; Legalized Prostitution," in The Economist, Sep. 7, 1991, American Survey, p. 28.
  7. Denise Grady et al., 'Just How Does AIDS Spread?" in Time, Mar. 21, 1988, p. 61.
  8. Sande and Volberding, Medical Management of AIDS, p. 20.
  9. Green, Dead-End, p. 99.
  10. John Seale, M.D., MRCP, "The Aids Epidemic and its Control," in the British Medico-Chirurgical Journal, Vol. 102(iii), Aug. 1987, p. 66.
  11. 'Why the Course of AIDS is Defying Africa's Precedent," in the New York Times, Feb. 21, 1988, Late City Final Ed., Sec. 4, p. 6.
  12. Neville Hodgkinson, "Epidemic of Aids in Africa 'a tragic myth,"' in The Sunday Times (London), Mar. 21, 1993, News 2.
  13. lbid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Joan Shenton, 'AIDS and Africa," in Dispatches, Channel 4 (London) programme aired Mar. 24, 1993.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Hodgkinson, "Epidemic."
  23. Ibid.
  24. John Seale, M.D., in The Daily Telegraph, Nov. 1986.
  25. Hodgkinson, "Epidemic."
  26. Shenton, "AIDS and Africa."
  27. Rhonda M. Robinson, "AIDS: The Mismanagement of a Tragedy," paper presented in Law and Morality seminar, Pepperdine University, Fall 1990.
  28. Michael Fumento, The Myth of Heterosexual Aids (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1990).
  29. Deirdre Fernand and Jasper Gerard, "Don't Believe the Hype," in the Sunday Times (London), Mar. l, 1992, Features; Sunday Telegraph (London), Mar. 11, 1990, p.21.
  30. Patricia Cohen, "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS" (book review in the Washington Monthly, Nov. 1989).
  31. Auberon Waugh, "The dollar dimension, " in The Daily Telegraph, Feb. L7,7993, p.21.
  32. Hodgkinson, "Epidemic."
  33. Shenton, "AIDS and Africa."
  34. Ibid.
  35. Charen, "Curious Ways."
  36. Ibid.
  37. Ibid.
  38. Michael Fumenro, "What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS," in the Washington Monthly" 9, Dec. 1992, Vol. 24, No. 12, p. 46.
  39. Rees, "Cut AIDS."
  40. Cohen. "Myth."
  41. James Kilpatrick, "Encouraging safe sodomy," in Universal Press Syndicate, Nov. 14, 1987.
  42. Fumento, "Avoid."