Racial bias in HIV/AIDS
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/06/14
I’ve drawn attention several times and from a variety of evidence to the racial bias in HIV/AIDS (see some representative links below). Perhaps the most egregious example is the willingness to presume or postulate that black people are so much more sexually promiscuous than others that they are “infected by HIV” much more often: African-American men about 7 times as often as white American men and 10 times as often as Asian-American men; African -American women about 20 times as often as white American women and perhaps 50 times as often as Asian-American women; Africans in South Africa >20 times as often as white South Africans or South Africans of (Asian) Indian ancestry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are willing to regard these differences in “HIV infection” rates as stemming from behavioral differences. James Chin calculates and accepts that 20-40% of adult Africans have about a dozen sexual partners at any given time, changing them about annually. Not only does the HIV/AIDS mainstream accept a sexual-transmission explanation for these racial disparities, it does so even though the disparities as to “HIV infection” are seen in every social sector and have not changed over 25 years, whereas relative rates for gonorrhea and syphilis vary by social sector and change over time, not at all parallel with relative rates of “HIV-positive”.
The manner in which “HIV” tests are calibrated explains why blacks test “HIV-positive” so much more often than others. Repeat blood donors are used as purportedly uninfected controls to standardize “HIV” tests, but when thus-calibrated tests are then put into practice, black repeat donors test “HIV-positive” far more often than other repeat donors, just as blacks in general test positive that much more often than others in general. Were the tests calibrated separately for racial sub-groups, the differences in apparent “HIV infection” would disappear.
Recently it was pointed out to me that one of the data sets in my book offers yet another angle on this, one I had earlier overlooked. Table 28 records the change in black-to-white ratio of AIDS cases over the years, from 0.20 in 1981 to 1.32 by 1998 — even as the black-to-white ratio for “HIV infection” has shown no increasing trend at all. What I ought to have pointed out as well is that the black-to-white ratio of AIDS in 1981 corresponded roughly to the relative proportions of black and white people in the United States. That was the beginning of the AIDS era, when most of the cases described as AIDS were among gay men, and it would be hardly surprising to find the same proportion of black and white among gay men as among men in general (or in the population at large). By 1984, however, when drug addicts were being classed as AIDS cases (rather than as, up to then, simply as ill from the consequences of drug addiction), the black-to-white ratio for “AIDS” had doubled (to about 0.43), consistent with the higher rates of drug abuse among inner-city black Americans. It was only after “HIV-positive” became a criterion for an AIDS diagnosis that “HIV/AIDS” became, in the United States, a disease largely of black communities.
For some other discussions of how HIV/AIDS researchers exhibit conscious or unconscious racial bias, indeed racist beliefs, see:
World Aids Day: Sharon Stone on Larry King, sharing urban legends (or celebrity facts);
HIV: The virus that discriminates by race;
HIV: A race-discriminating sexually transmitted virus!
Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africa” and “The Caribbean”;
Racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive”: Is there a non-racist explanation?
HIV/AIDS theory is inescapably racist;
Race and sexual behavior: Stereotype vs. fact;
Anthony Fauci explains racial disparities in “HIV/AIDS”;
Mainstream duffers clutch at Duffy straws: African ancestry and HIV;
Collateral damage from HIV/AIDS;
Least susceptible = most affected?! More HIV/AIDS nonsense;
Racist stereotypes are inherent in HIV/AIDS theory;
Double-talk about multiple concurrent sexual relationships;
Predicting rates of “HIV-positive” — and racial cleansing.