TRIMMING FACTS, INVENTING EPIDEMICS
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/01/14
HIV is perpetually in danger of spreading; it’s always just about to spread into areas and groups where it hasn’t been before. That’s the constant refrain in news reports and official press releases, though the facts are that it hasn’t done so in 25 years and there’s no reason to suspect that things have changed. But facts don’t change dogmatic beliefs, and if the facts are too troublesome then it might be time to stop collecting them:
“there are less reported cases of infection in Texas border counties than in the rest of the state. This statistic does not conform to what is known about how the virus is commonly transmitted, potentially indicating an under-tested population. ‘We almost discontinued the border report because the data is potentially inaccurate,’ said Cynthia Taylor, an epidemiologist with the TDSHS [Texas Department of State Health Services].
‘RIPE TO EXPLODE’
Recent analysis of border communities from McAllen to El Paso by Farmworker Justice reveals that border residents are engaged in risky sexual behaviors, including sex without condoms, sex with multiple partners, or with sex workers.
‘Given the prevalence of those kinds of behaviors, we may be at the cusp of an epidemic,’ said Shelly Davis, deputy director of the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit. ‘Maybe the statistics are inaccurate, or maybe HIV hasn’t entered this population yet, but if it does, conditions are ripe for it to explode’” [all emphases added]
HIV on the Border, by Laura Tillman, The Brownsville Herald (Texas), 5 January 2008
* * * * * *
— Since it’s “known” that HIV is sexually transmitted, all data showing the opposite must be ignored.
— If necessary, stop gathering data wherever they don’t support the theory.
— If there’s no epidemic, then we must be on the cusp of one.
— Ignore the point that in order to argue in this fashion, one must make the extraordinarily implausible assumption that the contemporary risky sexual behavior must be something new, since it hasn’t yet brought the epidemic beyond its cusp.
— Never stop to ask, why the facts contradict the theory.
For further illustrations, see “Inventing new epidemics”, p. 114 ff. in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.