DC: Epidemic of HIV, testing or media hype?

 Posted by on 2009-03-19 at 10:54 am
Mar 192009
 

Most of us have seen the headlines by now about the rampant spread of AIDS in Washington, DC. It’s worse even than Africa, right?

It is if you rely on the AP, Newsday, NY Times and other mainstream media that parrots them for your information.

Surveillance data for prevelance of HIV and AIDS is easily misunderstood and at times misused. Recently the World Health Organization, UN AIDS and the Global Health Fund have all had to furiously backpedal when their past dire warnings of a heterosexual epidemic failed to materialize due to faulty and/or deceptive epidemiological models. (here and here)

For those inquiring minds that prefer to be challenged in how they view information, I strongly recommend this post from Henry Bauer* today.

Here are a couple of snippets:

Ignorance of the past is exemplified here by the report, from January 2008,  that “One in 20 Washington, D.C., residents is HIV-positive” . One in 20 equals 5%. Fifteen months later, the media trumpet the alarming “news” that the rate has “hit” 3%. They should rather have been celebrating the 40% decrease from 5 percent to only 3 percent in not much over a year.

And:

Ever since “HIV” testing began, it’s been known that publicly identified gay men test “HIV-positive” at very high rates. It’s also been known that rates of testing “HIV-positive” vary PREDICTABLY with racial ancestry: blacks test higher than any other group, by factors usually no lower than about 5 and often by factors as high as 20 (black women compared to white women) or even 100 (black female blood donors compared to white female blood donors in South Africa). It’s also been reported in every study that looks at population density that rates of testing “HIV-positive” are about 4 times as high in large metropolitan areas than in rural ones…

…Washington DC is a large metropolitan area, overwhelmingly black, with the relatively high concentration of gay men fund in most large cities. That’s why Washington DC has now, AND  ALWAYS  HAS  HAD, an overall rate of “HIV-positive” that’s higher by a factor of about 5 than the overall rate for the United States (~0.6%).

Before commenting, please remember that no one is denying that HIV or AIDS exists, only that there now exists an extremely lucrative industry that benefits from the promotion of fear and anxiety beyond that supported by the scientific data.

Further, there are anomolies with the current test results based on race ancestry and sexual orientation that justify challenges to its accuracy in detecting a disease pathogen.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this is but one more example of how the MSM (mainstream media) has ceased to function as an independent questioner and is susceptible to promoting a single point of view to the exclusion of all others. That is a dangerous trend that needs to be challenged.


*Bauer is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry &  Science Studies and Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. He is the author of the book The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

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