Least susceptible = most affected?! More HIV/AIDS nonsense
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/22
No one questions that people of African ancestry feature much more frequently in HIV/AIDS statistics than do others, be it in Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, or elsewhere.
Three chapters of my book deal with those facts and their interpretation, as do several posts on this blog. The issue is really quite straightforward: Is the prominence of Africans as to HIV/AIDS a reflection of riskier behavior with respect to sex or drugs?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other official bodies and activist groups in the United States accept that risky behavior is the culprit; they harp on behavioral change as the way to deal with and ideally to prevent this prominence of blacks in HIV/AIDS statistics. James Chin infers for sub-Saharan Africa an extraordinary degree of promiscuity.
I disagree. This official stance entails that African ancestry determines behavior. That’s wrong because genes don’t determine behavior so simply and directly. It’s also racist, replaying the fear-mongering about oversexed black men.
I’ve argued that the data cannot be legitimately interpreted in this fashion. Behavior varies by social group. If there is a disease that strikes some people more than others, and if its incidence is invariably linked to certain genes in every social group, then that disease is hereditary and not a contagious infection spread by particular behavior — for example, sickle-cell anemia. The racial disparities in prevalence and incidence of “HIV” are the same among blood donors, drug abusers, gay men, military cohorts, pregnant women, university students, and other social sectors, in all countries and cultures. Blacks are “HIV-positive” far more frequently than whites in all those social groups and in all countries for which I’ve seen data: USA, Britain, Germany, the Caribbean, Africa. Clearly, that phenomenon is not the result of a particular kind of sexual behavior that blacks practice more than others, anywhere and everywhere. The great tendency for blacks to acquire “HIV-positive” status is not a result of behavior. “HIV” is not an infection, a fortiori not a sexually transmitted infection.
There have been a few mainstream attempts to make the sexually transmitted hypothesis compatible with the facts which show that “HIV-positive” status is determined by some inherent, i.e. genetic property: suggestions that something in ancestral African genes renders CD4 cells more prone to infection by and killing by “HIV”. Those attempts are less than convincing, to put it mildly [Racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive”: Is there a non-racist explanation?, 4 May 2008 ; Mainstream duffers clutch at Duffy straws: African ancestry and HIV, 26 July 2008 ; Dr. Frankenstein turns to CCR5, 31 July 2008 ].
In any case, the facts present an inherent contradiction about blacks and HIV/AIDS. On the one hand, blacks are (1) much more likely to test “HIV-positive” and (2) much more likely to die from “HIV disease”. On the other hand, they (3) become “HIV-positive” at older ages than others and (4) die at older ages than others. The first two facts indicate that blacks resist “HIV” less well than others do, the last two facts indicate that blacks resist “HIV” better than others do.
(1) That blacks test “HIV-positive” at far greater rates than others is not controversial. That these differences cut across social groups is documented from official sources and peer-reviewed journals and in great detail in my book and several blog posts.
(2) That blacks die at far greater rates than others from “HIV disease” is shown in the relative mortalities reported, for example, in data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Examples from 1999 and 2004 were given in an earlier post:
(4) The rate data in Table 1 show that the median ages of death are higher for blacks than for whites, especially for males. They are also quite significantly higher than for Asians, Native Americans, or Hispanics:
People of African ancestry don’t contract “HIV” until they are on average older than others, and they survive that “disease” longer than others do — they are less susceptible to it, in other words, better protected against it in some fashion. At the same time, they are far more likely to contract the “disease”, and they die from “it” at a far greater rate than others — they are more susceptible to it, in other words.
Those are blatant mutual contradictions. Strangely enough, a similar contradiction is seen among blood donors:
The highest rates for each group are in bold italics. The maximum rate for testing positive is much lower, and occurs at lower ages, among the repeat donors than among the first-time donors. Repeat donors have been screened more thoroughly than first-time donors, obviously, so it’s hardly surprising that the rate of “HIV-positive” is much higher among first-time than among repeat donors; but why then do those first-time donors who do become “infected” acquire that status at distinctly higher ages? Once again, as with the racial disparities: those who are most likely to have been “infected” by a sexually transmitted agent tend to be infected at older ages than those who are less likely to be infected?! Among both males and females?
This strikes me as one of the more memorable absurdities that HIV/AIDS theorists demand that we swallow. A sexually transmitted agent that infects maximally people in their mid-30s?! In all social groups! Year after year! And the more susceptible you are to this “infection”, the older you are likely to be before you get “infected”?!
And the more susceptible you are to becoming infected, the longer you’re likely to live before being killed by that infection?!
Selling a couple of Brooklyn Bridges ought to have been much easier than selling HIV/AIDS theory.
Here’s a PDF of blog posts from 7th to 22nd February inclusive.