You gotta love the AIDS doctor's name.
The exploitation of Aids
The Aids scare was one of the most distorted, duplicitous and cynical public health panics of the last 30 years
All comments (86)
guardian.co.uk, Thursday June 12 2008
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.
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.
Much of the media has treated Dr De Cock's admission as a startling revelation. In truth, experts have known for many years that in the vast majority of the world, Aids has little impact on the "general population". In her new book The Wisdom of Whores, Elizabeth Pisani – who worked for 10 years in what she refers to as "the Aids bureaucracy" – admits that by 1998 it was clear that "HIV wasn't going to rage through the billions in the 'general population', and we knew it".
Some people knew it earlier. In 1987, my friend and colleague Dr Michael Fitzpatrick wrote a fiery pamphlet titled The Truth About the Aids Panic. At the height of the Conservative government's scary tombstone campaign ("Don't die of ignorance"), he wrote: "There is no good evidence that Aids is likely to spread rapidly in the West among heterosexuals." In Britain, most of the small-scale spread of "heterosexual Aids" has been a result of infected individuals arriving from Africa. In the UK in the whole of the 1980s – the decade of the Great Aids Panic – there were 20 cases of HIV acquired through heterosexual contact with an individual infected in Europe.
And it isn't the case that the heterosexual pandemic failed to materialise because officialdom's omnipresent pro-condom propaganda was a success. According to James Chin, a clinical professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley and author of the new book The Aids Pandemic, it was always a "glorious myth" that there would be an "HIV epidemic in general populations". That myth was the product of "misunderstanding or deliberate distortions of HIV epidemiology" by Unaids and other Aids activists, says Chin.
It is time to recognise that the Aids scare was one of the most distorted, duplicitous and cynical public health panics of the past 30 years. 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.
more at: Brendan O'Neill: The Aids scare was a cynical public health scare | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk