HIV AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE: IT JUST ISN’T SO
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/11/28
Everyone knows that HIV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and that the chances of contracting it are much greater if you have another STD, like gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia.
Everyone knows those things even though the facts contradict them.
An Australian correspondent alerted me to this recent and typical story (by Tory Shepherd, Health Reporter, November 28, 2007 (http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,22832996-5006301,00.htm):
“A surge in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases has hit South Australia. . . . chlamydia infections have trebled to more than 3000 a year in the past decade, while gonorrhea infections have increased from about 190 to about 500. The number of HIV/AIDS infections has fluctuated, from 46 HIV and 39 AIDS infections in 1996 to 23 HIV and five AIDS in 2000, then up to 61 HIV and 14 AIDS cases in 2006. . . . the increase in other STDs could herald a rise in HIV/AIDS infections, as it showed safe sex messages were being ignored. ‘If these trends continue, an increase in HIV infections can be predicted to follow,’ it said.
‘chlamydia is largely an infection of heterosexual adolescents and young adults while HIV remains largely associated with male-to-male sex, injecting drug use and heterosexual sex overseas,’ …. ‘Syphilis and gonorrhea in metropolitan Adelaide has also been predominantly associated with men who have sex with men, but recently a few heterosexual transmissions have occurred. A major concern for the future would be if these epidemics intersect with a rise in gonorrhea and syphilis among the heterosexual community, which could herald an increase in the heterosexual transmission of HIV.’”
The cited numbers and generalizations present these facts: In the quarter century of the claimed epidemic of HIV/AIDS, STDs in South Australia have gone up but HIV and AIDS have fluctuated at a much lower level: 50 times lower than chlamydia, 4 to 10 times lower than gonorrhea, and not increasing in tandem with them. Moreover HIV/AIDS has remained within the original risk groups and has not spread into the general population.
Yet the same story that presents these facts warns against what the experience of 25 years teaches will not happen.
That is typical of reporting and of official press releases about HIV/AIDS: dire warnings in the face of the facts. The primary medical-scientific literature, cited in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, demonstrates that
“HIV” is “transmitted” via unprotected sexual intercourse about 1 in 1000 times–whereas gonorrhea or syphilis are transmitted 200-800 times per 1000 acts (pp. 44-45 in the book).
The epidemiology of “HIV” is not like that of an STD (especially p. 31 ff, p. 44 ff. in the book).
Use of condoms has not been shown to decrease the “transmission” of “HIV” (pp. 44, 109 in the book).
Rates of STDs and of “HIV” have moved in opposite directions in South-East Asia (p. 109 in the book).
How could beliefs contrary to fact persist for a couple of decades? Parts II and III of the cited book suggest these answers:
1. Medicine and clinical science, like all of science, are liable to go wrong before they eventually go less wrong, if not necessarily quite right .
2. Initial reporting, speculating, and activism about AIDS sent things on a wrong track from which we have not yet recovered.
The idea that AIDS is sexually transmitted came about because the first cases were in clusters. Then the story of the airline steward, “Patient Zero”, seemed to confirm the idea because AIDS appeared within a few weeks or months of his visits around the country. However, now that the average lag between HIV infection and AIDS symptoms is estimated at about 10 years, those bits of evidence speak AGAINST sexual transmission and for a lifestyle explanation.
Another mistaken inference has to do with Africa. In the United States, AIDS in the early 1980s was virtually restricted to gay men and to drug abusers. When in Africa about equal numbers of men and women were said to have AIDS, this was trumpeted as showing that in Africa HIV was being spread via heterosexual intercourse. The basis for this inference is wrong: genuinely heterosexually transmitted diseases–chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis–do not strike men and women in equal numbers. The illnesses that do strike men and women equally are those transmitted though the air like flu, or via insects like malaria, or via the environment as with unsafe drinking water or malnutrition, say.