HIV/AIDS: Fact vs Racism

Story submitted by Robert on Wed 11 Dec 2002 - 04:41 h Politics:

The following article was written by Gos von Damhackerz. He mailed it to me and wrote "I have some information concerning HIV/AIDS mortality statistics in the US, which I have not seen discussed elsewhere, that I'd like for you to share with your readers."

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, in 2000, nearly 8,000 blacks were said to have died of 'HIV disease' in the US, while HIV is alleged to have claimed the lives of fewer than 6,500 whites (view/download pdf file)
Since African-Americans accounted for fewer than 12% of the total US deaths that year, this suggests that the average black person is more than 10 times as likely to die from AIDS as the average white person.

We are told that this is because blacks are more likely than whites to indulge in intravenous drugs and sex with multiple partners, an explanation which goes down easily when you wash it down with a nice tall glass of racial stereotyping. But, do the statistical facts actually bear out the stereotype, much less the theory which hinges upon it?

Since, by and large, IV drugs are typically the deadliest, one would naturally expect to find that drug-induced mortality statistics would also include more blacks than whites, if we are to assume that the disproportionate number of AIDS deaths among blacks is caused by IV drug use. In fact, the reverse is true: 16,371 whites as opposed to only 3,032 blacks died of drug-related causes in the year 2000 -- a ratio of more than 5:1. Arrest and conviction statistics might mislead due to racial prejudice on the part of officers, judges, and/or juries, but the Grim Reaper is no respecter of race -- mortality statistics don't lie; it wasn't blacks who were consuming the vast majority of the deadliest 'hard' drugs consumed in America in the year 2000.

We are told, by proponents of the HIV/AIDS theory, that HIV is transmitted via the same vectors as viral hepatitis, namely blood-to-blood contact, and contact with bodily fluids, such as might occur during sex. To my knowledge, there is no means whereby HIV is said to be transmitted by which viral hepatitis is not at least as readily transmissible, and vice versa. One would therefore expect that in any population where there were an inordinate number of cases of one disease, the other disease would also be disproportionately represented. A hypothetical AIDS epidemic among blacks, for example, would most probably be accompanied by a co-epidemic of viral hepatitis, which, in fact, would likely spread further and faster among the same population than HIV itself.

Again, in the same CDC figures, what we find is the exact opposite: More than 4,000 Caucasians died of viral hepatitis in 2000, while hepatitis took fewer than 800 African-American lives -- again, a ratio of greater than 5:1 -- similar to the ratio of blacks to whites in the population, suggesting that so-called high-risk behaviors such as needle-sharing and multiple sex partners know no racial divides.

Expressed as a ratio, about 1 out of every 400 deaths among blacks in 2000 was attributed to viral hepatitis, while hepatitis was implicated in about 1 out of every 500 deaths in whites; --not much difference; yet, while 'HIV disease' accounted for only about 3 out of every 1,000 Caucasian deaths, 'HIV disease' was blamed for over 27 deaths out of every 1000 among blacks -- nearly ten times as many.

By what miracle are blacks, and blacks alone, (and only in America,) transmitting AIDS rampantly among their population, yet not spreading viral hepatitis, which not only spreads via the same routes as HIV is said to do, but is also believed more contagious? Are blacks somehow immune to hepatitis? Or, perhaps we're expected to believe that whites are more resistant to AIDS? No? Then we must be living in the 1950s, when blacks and whites in America didn't socially intermingle, rarely indulged in interracial sex, almost never consumed recreational drugs together, and wouldn't have even gotten their tattoos on the same side of town, much less in the same parlor, and AIDS and hepatitis have therefore remained racially segregated diseases. Still no? Then the only other option left is that AIDS is not transmissible via the same routes as hepatitis, and barring there being some other as-yet unknown transmission route, that would mean that there are no transmission routes for AIDS, period. If there are no transmission routes, then that leaves us with no other conclusion than that AIDS is not an infectious disease at all.

The simple fact is that mortality statistics concerning deaths related to drug use and viral hepatitis simply don't support the notion that blacks in America are any more likely to engage in so-called 'high-risk behaviors' than are whites. This being the case, the theory that blames drug use and promiscuity among blacks for the AIDS 'epidemic' among African-Americans is exposed for exactly what it is: Moral judgementalism coupled with a nice helping of good, old-fashioned, red-blooded American racism. It certainly has no basis in fact, and if we're willing to accept, without proof, that so many African-Americans are getting AIDS from IV drug use and promiscuous sex, simply because the theory re-affirms our closely held racial prejudices, then we might as well seriously consider the equally-conceivable alternate possibility that they're getting it from food cross-contamination, caused by eating watermelon that's been stored in a refrigerator with undercooked leftover fried chicken.

JohnnyK on the Gisselquist paper

Below I provide a critique of the following paper:

Int J STD AIDS 2002 Oct;13(10):657-66 HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission. Gisselquist D, Rothenberg R, Potterat J, Drucker E.

Click for pdf version

The response of AIDS Inc. to this widely publicised paper (see below) was to insist upon the RACIST dogma that AIDS in Africa IS predominantly sexually transmitted. This shows that AIDS Inc. is IN DENIAL of evidence even when it is presented from within its own ranks. This paper necessitates the following comments:

In this paper AIDS Inc. authors finally admit, within the safe context of their own HIV-based alternative explanation, that computer models of HIV seroprevalence in Africa are fundamentally flawed.

Contrary to their claim, there have never been any studies constituting "empirical observations" of seroprevalance in Africa, there are only unrepresentative estimates.

The authors demonstrate with their own words how readily and without firm foundation a consensus can arise unchallenged and become accepted as fact. This is the "scientific" climate in which HIV/AIDS originated.

The authors studiously ignore the possibility of false positive HIV tests. Although they present a strong case against the proclaimed sexual transmission of HIV in Africa they do not present the required degree of evidence to support their own alternative explanation. This paper is a speculative review article not a study. There is nothing in it to tie down time of seroconversion to time, frequency or type of injections given. In fact we have no data on type (other than the mention of blood transfusions in a small number of cases) or frequency of injections. There is also no information on clinical hygeine practice for injections at the institutions where the cited studies were conducted.

I am reminded of the study (1) showing that those IVDUs who consistently used a clean needle exchange program (less sharing of needles) were 10.2 to 22.9 times MORE likely to test HIV positive.

See also:

The Crime of Asking Questions

AIDS in Africa: Distinguishing Fact and Fiction

(1) American J. Epidemiology 1997, 146(12):994-1002 (see table 5),6119,2-7-659_1322877,00.html

Sex 'doesn't fuel' Africa Aids pandemic (SA) 20/02/2003 08:28

Patricia Reaney

London - Africa's Aids pandemic may not have been fuelled mainly by sexual transmission of the HIV virus but by unsafe medical injections and blood transfusions, a team of international researchers said on Thursday.

The findings contradict widely-held views about how the virus that causes Aids spread through Africa, and could have implications for public health measures to fight the disease.

Most scientists believe heterosexual sex spreads HIV/Aids in up to 90 percent of adult cases in sub-Saharan Africa, home of 30 million of the 42 million people living with the disease.

But a team of eight experts from three countries who reviewed data on HIV infection in Africa estimate only about a third of adult cases are sexually transmitted.

They said healthcare practices, especially contaminated medical injections, could also be a major cause.

"The idea that sex explains 90 percent of African HIV just doesn't fit the facts," said David Gisselquist, a Pennsylvania-based independent consultant and member of the research team.

"We need to take a look at the alternate explanations, in particular healthcare transmissions which seems to fit a lot of facts," he added in a telephone interview with Reuters.

The findings, reported in the International Journal of STD & Aids, a peer-reviewed journal published by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine, were not accepted by all scientists.

Facts don't add up:

"The idea that dirty needles or blood transfusions are the main route for HIV transmission in Africa today, flies in the face of experience on the ground," said Dr Chris Ouma, head of health programmes at the charity ActionAid Kenya.

"In Kenya, medical procedures have largely been made safe but still HIV infections continue to rise."

But Dr George Schmid, of the department of HIV/Aids at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, said it is plausible that unsafe medical injections can cause some HIV cases.

"I think the question is what proportion," he told Reuters.

"We are acutely aware of and concerned about the situation and do want to work with Gisselquist and others to try and resolve the issues as best we can and to come up with a way forward to find out what the true answer is."

The WHO and UNAids, the United Nations agency spearheading the global battle against HIV/Aids, will hold a meeting in Geneva on March 13-14 to address the issue of unsafe injections.

In three reviews in the journal, HIV specialists including Gisselquist, Francois Vachon of the University of Paris in France, Devon Brewer of the University of Seattle in Washington and others, said the Aids epidemic in Africa has not followed the normal pattern of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

In the 1990s in Zimbabwe, overall STDs decreased by 25 percent but HIV infections rose by 12 percent a year despite an increased use of condoms in high-risk groups.

The team argued that the virus is more easily transmitted through unsafe injections and tainted blood transfusions than through heterosexual sex. They also said surveys have shown sexual activity in Africa is much the same as in North America and Europe where HIV/Aids infection rates are much lower.

Studies have also identified HIV positive babies whose mothers are not infected, which the researchers said suggests unsafe injections could be a factor.

"Every year there are hundreds of millions of unsafe injections in Africa where needles have been used on someone and re-used without sterilisation," said Gisselquist.

He added that "a growing body of evidence points to unsafe injections and other medical exposures to contaminated blood" as an explanation for the spread of the epidemic.