HIV: THE VIRUS THAT DISCRIMINATES BY RACE
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/11
Everyone has surely heard the refrain, “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”; it’s almost as though media people can’t say “HIV” without tacking on that assertion. It might be a worthwhile project for a student of Communications or Journalism or Sociology to ferret out when and where this originated: Was it an innocent media attempt to inform, or another ploy devised by PR people like those enlisted by the CDC to sell the idea that “everyone is at risk”? (Bennett & Sharpe, AIDS fight is skewed by federal campaign exaggerating risks, Wall Street Journal, 1 May 1996, pp. A1, 6)
In any case, “HIV, the virus that discriminates by race” would be more profoundly telling about what HIV really is.
There are diseases whose origins lie in unusual forms (alleles) of certain human genes–cystic fibrosis, say. Some chronic ailments or conditions, perhaps especially those that become prominent in old age, seem to affect more frequently those individuals who have a genetic predisposition–some forms of breast cancer, for instance, or certain cardiovascular conditions. Some such hereditary disorders are race-linked; perhaps the best known one is sickle-cell anemia, which is virtually confined to people of African or of Mediterranean ancestry. Having just one sickle-cell allele is not life-threatening and helps to resist the effects of malaria, while having two is life-threatening; so in regions where malaria was endemic, sickle-cell genes were favored by natural selection.
None of these genetically based conditions is contagious or infectious, of course; genes are not exchanged by bodily contact or via bodily fluids. By contrast, infectious diseases do not discriminate by race: cholera, influenza, measles, pneumonia, syphilis, tuberculosis, etc., do not display the sort of racial disparity that sickle-cell anemia does–a disparity found equally in all social groups and in both sexes at all ages.
No infectious disease shows that sort of racial disparity. All except one retrovirus, that is: the lentivirus (“slow virus”) HIV.
It’s no secret that HIV/AIDS has become a disease afflicting, in the United States, primarily African-American communities. It’s also no secret that, globally, the only region heavily afflicted by HIV/AIDS is sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS, in other words, seems to be race-linked like no other infectious condition.
This linkage with race has not been clearly brought out, though, in mainstream publications, possibly because it is inconceivable to minds entrenched in the belief that HIV/AIDS is infectious. Hence there’s a continuing need to reiterate the plain and compelling evidence.
In the United States, in every group for which the variable of race is reported in connection with HIV tests, African Americans test positive much more frequently than whites; overall, according to a recent review, black males and black females are 7 and 21 times, respectively, more likely to test HIV-positive than are white males and females (Potterat et al., International Journal of STD & AIDS, 19  1-3).
However, such population-wide comparisons do not establish conclusively that race is the actual basis for the differential test results, because certain sub-groups might so influence the overall figures as to mask a more significant or causal factor. For example, the overall incarceration rates for black Americans are also much higher than those of white Americans; but disaggregation of the data reveals that this stems predominantly from conditions for younger black males in inner-city locales. Blacks in every social group and at all ages are not more likely to be incarcerated than are whites in the same social groups and ages: black academics or black marines are not more frequently incarcerated than are white academics or white marines. The tendency to be incarcerated is not race-linked in and of itself. For a particular characteristic to be demonstrably race-linked, that characteristic must be found in every social group and at every age. Such is the case with HIV/AIDS.
In the United States, blacks test HIV-positive markedly more often than whites among the following groups (for citation of the original sources in the mainstream literature, see Chapter 5 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory):
— women who have just delivered children
— blood donors
— applicants for military service
— teenage applicants for military service
— Army Reserve personnel
— Job Corps members
— applicants for marriage licenses
— college students
— people at STD clinics
— drug abusers
— gay men
— the populations sampled by the National Health and Nutrition Survey
— female prostitutes, female drug abusers, “female partners of persons at risk”
In other words, blacks test positive more often than whites in high-risk groups (drug abusers, gay men, prostitutes) as well as in low-risk groups.
Furthermore, the rates of new seroconversions to HIV-positive display the same racial disparities as do the overall rates of testing positive.
Moreover, the same racial disparities are shown at all ages (relevant data have been reported for the Job Corps, soldiers, sailors, marines, applicants for military service, gay men).
Race itself is the only common factor in the racial disparities as to HIV.
If race is genuinely the responsible factor, then the same racial disparities as to HIV should show up also outside the United States. They do.
However, no other country has published HIV-test data as comprehensive, and as routinely classified by race, as the United States has, so the information about racial disparities is more spotty and sparse. Nevertheless, every mention of a racial disparity notes that Africans test positive more frequently than do non-Africans; for example:
— In South Africa, black women at prenatal clinics tested positive 15 times more often than white women, and those of mixed race fell in between. Black blood-donors tested positive 25 or 30 times more often than white donors, and Indian and mixed-race individuals fell in between (sources cited at p. 76, Tables 21 & 22 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory)
— In Britain, the disproportionate impact of HIV on Africans was illustrated by the convening of a National African HIV conference in March, 2008, at Regent’s College Conference Centre, Regent’s Park, London
“Immigrants account for 70% of HIV and TB cases” (Nigell Hawkes, The Times [London], 16 November 2007)
“There are estimated to be over 63,000 adults living with HIV in the UK . . . The majority of these are people who caught the infection abroad and of African origin” (BBC News, 7 December 2007)
— In Sheffield, England, the largest number of HIV cases is from black communities (Star [UK], Kate Lahive, 18 February 2008)
— “Almost a third of those diagnosed with HIV in Ireland last year  were African” (Independent [Ireland], Tom Prendeville, 8 July 2007)
— In New Zealand, a disproportionate number of HIV-positives are refugees from Africa (NZ to foot $1m bill for HIV-positive refugees, New Zealand Herald, 17 March 2008)
— In Mauritius, the HIV-positive rate is “1.8 percent, which is low for the region. On the African mainland, HIV infection rates stand at 16.1 percent in Mozambique and 18.8 percent in South Africa” (Reuters, Roche Bois [Mauritius] 12 November 2007)
The people of Mauritius are not racially sub-Saharan African: the population is 68% Indo-Mauritian, 27% Creole, 3% Sino-Mauritian, 2% Franco-Mauritian.
— “the San people of Botswana and Namibia have mysteriously low HIV infection rates even though these countries are known for their extremely high AIDS mortality statistics” (source cited at p. 171, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
The San, also known as Bushmen of the Kalahari, are not racially sub-Saharan, that is, they are not of Bantu Negroid ancestry.
— “Madagascar has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the world. However, HIV infection rates for the country remain low, under 1%” (Madagascar’s ticking HIV time bomb, Jonny Hogg, BBC News, Fort Dauphin)
“HIV prevalence rate in . . . Madagascar . . . [is] lower than its neighbouring Southern Africa countries. . . . the national infection rate . . . [is] 0.95 percent . . . . [compared to] four percent prevalence rate for sexually transmitted infections” (MADAGASCAR: New law to fight HIV/AIDS stigma: Madagascar has so far been spared an HIV/AIDS epidemic, unlike its continental neighbours; Antananarivo, 20 August 2007 )
The Malagasy (Madagascans) are not racially sub-Saharan, they are of mixed Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestry. (Note that this report also contradicts the shibboleth that infection with STDs synergizes becoming HIV-positive.)
Around the world, then, HIV is found much more often in people of sub-Saharan (Negroid, Bantu) ancestry than among those of white (Caucasian) ancestry. This is so in every social and regional sub-group. Race is the decisive factor.
No other infectious disease discriminates by race in this fashion.
There is a clear choice to be made, how to explain this circumstance:
HIV is uniquely an infectious agent that discriminates by race
“HIV” is not an infection.
TO BE CONTINUED with more racial statistics, and then something about sociobiology and racism