LIFESTYLE: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
SARS, AIDS and public policy
, May 17, 2003
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is now everywhere in the news. With some experts predicting that millions of people may be infected within one year, this new epidemic has everyone talking - and worried.
Over 30 countries have been affected, with 300 deaths, and over 5000 cases so far reported. China, which at first under-reported the crisis in its midst, is now finally getting real, and taking extreme measures to curtail the infectious disease.
Indeed, nations around the world are taking draconian measures to stem the spread of the epidemic. Whole cities are being quarantined; nations and states are threatening to arrest those suspected of having the disease and not reporting it; and other methods are being used. Of course some civil liberties will be curtailed in the process, but the health risks are just too great to do otherwise.HIV similarity
All of which is interesting in the light of another infectious virus. HIV/AIDS has now been with us for over two decades. Yet we have treated this epidemic far differently from SARS. Why is this?
The main reason is that HIV/AIDS is primarily a lifestyle-related disease, and nations have not been willing to challenge the lifestyles responsible for spreading the disease.
In both the developed world and the Third World, HIV/AIDS is spread by sexual promiscuity; but in neither case do governments or international agencies attempt to modify behaviour in a way that has been shown to be effective with cigarettes, drugs, alcohol or other social evils.
In contrast to SARS, which has infected some 5,000 people, HIV/AIDS has afflicted around 65 million people, and is devastating whole regions of central and southern Africa and parts of Asia.
In Third World countries, the disease is primarily linked with promiscuous heterosexual behaviour. HIV is spread primarily through sexual contact (although misuse of surgical syringes is also a vehicle of transmission).
Instead of promoting policies of abstinence before marriage and fidelity within it, bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union have vigorously promoted the condom culture, implying that the poor are incapable of sexual restraint, while promoting devices which encourage promiscuous behaviour.
The inevitable result is that HIV/AIDS is rampant, spreading to as many as 20 per cent of the population of countries such as South Africa.
In most developed Western countries, government policy on HIV/AIDS has been "captured" by the gay lobby, which for its own reasons promotes a promiscuous lifestyle.
The homosexual community, which is the main centre of the epidemic in Australia and the West, has done all it can to prevent a sensible approach being taken to the virus.
Initially, the homosexual community and its supporters tried to convince the rest of society that AIDS could be caught by anyone. Even they no longer run this line. As one homosexual activist recently admitted, "Between 1983 and 2001 there was [sic] over 8,000 people with AIDS in Australia, of whom over 6,000 died. The great majority of these were gay men. More than 20,000 people, again mostly gay men, have been diagnosed with HIV infection.."1
The truth is, in Australia in particular, and the West in general, AIDS is a homosexual disease. Indeed, back in 1981 when it was first being recognised in America, it was called GRID: Gay Related Immunodeficiency Disease. It was only after protests from the homosexual community that the name was changed to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).2
In the West, homosexual activity is the main way the disease is passed along, along with intravenous drug usage. Avoid the homosexual lifestyle and intravenous drug use, and you have an almost zero chance of getting AIDS. As one author put it, "as rare as male breast cancer is, more native-born American males are diagnosed with the disease each year than the total number who have contracted AIDS through heterosexual intercourse since the AIDS epidemic began".3
Thus the early campaigns designed to convince heterosexuals that they were equally at risk of getting AIDS were exercises in propaganda and Political Correctness. When people like Madonna exclaimed that "AIDS doesn't discriminate" she was being disingenuous, at best. So too were those who put out the Grim Reaper ads in Australia in the early days of the epidemic. It was patent nonsense and misinformation then, and still is.
As Michael Fumento writes, "The slogans have a nice ring to them, but quickly fall apart under scrutiny. Bullets and knives don't discriminate either, but you're far more likely to catch one walking through a dark South Bronx alley than strolling down a well-lit street on Manhattan's Upper East Side."4
A 1996/97 survey of gay men in Sydney found that although 97 per cent were aware of AIDS, nearly half said they had not changed their behaviour in response. Said the report: "The results of the ... survey indicate a decreasing concern for HIV/AIDS and a state of global complacency. This ... severely inhibits real progress in the fight against AIDS".5
The 2000 Smash report found that over a four year period only 18.9 per cent of male homosexuals never had anal intercourse without a condom with regular male partners.6Safe sex fatigue
In fact, even simple precautions like condom use are ignored. Recent studies in the US have shown that nearly half of all young gay men have unprotected sex.7
Studies conducted here show similar results. A SMASH spokesman said years of post-epidemic proactive education are inducing a level of "safe sex fatigue".8
In Victoria, medical authorities have warned of a new AIDS crisis, with a 67 per cent HIV increase among gay men.9
And a Queensland study found that only 20.8 per cent of homosexuals always use a condom with regular partners.10
Indeed, according to reports in some extreme homosexual literature, some healthy homosexual men have actively sought HIV-positive partners so they could become infected.11
It may not be Politically Correct to say so, but if we seriously discouraged homosexual activity, we would greatly reduce the number of deaths due to AIDS. Says one authority, "AIDS is a preventable, behavior-related disease. And we know what works in preventing the spread of AIDS.
"The virus is primarily spread by having sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing hypodermic needles or syringes with an infected person. Avoiding such behavior greatly reduces - indeed it almost entirely removes - the chances of becoming infected.
"Given the awful consequences of contracting the AIDS virus, it should be clear enough that public officials as well as members of the public health community have a basic responsibility to speak up for the true and time-honored, for things like restraint and responsibility on matters of sexual behavior."12Aids and public policy
Based on somewhat older figures, the average hospitalisation of an AIDS patient runs four months and costs $80,000.13
Homosexual acts, therefore, are not "victimless crimes," and the consequences must be borne by the entire community. In the 1997/98 financial year, HIV and AIDS treatments cost taxpayers $59 million, more that 2 per cent of the total cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.14
Obviously illnesses suffered by heterosexuals are also borne by the community, but it seems the homosexual minority absorbs an inordinate amount of public finances to deal with homosexual-related diseases and problems. The medical research makes it clear that homosexual relationships are more than just private activities between consenting adults, but a public health problem of serious proportions.
But even though homosexual behaviour brings on so much sickness and death, it must be remembered that the number of AIDS cases is relatively low in Australia, compared to some other health problems. Yet governments seem to spend disproportionate amounts of taxpayer funds on AIDS.
Indeed, health issues have become politicised in Australia, with some issues appearing to be more Politically Correct than others. This can be seen in the way governments allocate funding for various health problems. For example, the Federal Government spends much more money on AIDS, which takes the lives of about 600 Australians each year, than it does on breast cancer, which takes the lives of about 2600. Consider the following facts from several years ago:
- Every year 6500 Australian women are told they have breast cancer - over 2600 die a year of it.15
- In 1992 643 people died of AIDS-related causes.16
- The National Program for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer showed Commonwealth outlays of $25.6m in 1993-1994. AIDS Control: $54.3m in 94-95 budget.17
- Some 4000 women die each year of gynaecological cancer (cancers of the cervix, ovaries, uterus and the vulva) and breast cancer. About 2500 Australians total have died of AIDS since the early 80s. $32 million has been set aside for three years to combat these cancers, but $62 million a year for AIDS.18
A call to the Federal Department of Health reveals that these figures have changed very little in the past few years. Clearly such a discrepancy indicates a political agenda at work. Such is the clout of the homosexual lobby that they have managed to take issues of life and death and skew them in their favour, and away from others.
This problem is not confined to Australia. Many Western countries have similar biases in their health funding. In America, for example, in the early 1990s, Federal spending on AIDS per death was around $50,000, while it was $3,500 for cancer, $2,300 for breast cancer, and $900 for heart disease.19
Former President Bill Clinton admitted to such imbalance as he addressed a homosexual lobby group on November 8, 1997: "Since I became President, we're spending 10 times as much per fatality on people with AIDS as people with breast cancer or prostate cancer"20
. It's not just conservatives who are concerned about such mistaken priorities.
Michael Johnston, a former homosexual who was dying of AIDS, said the President's remarks put him in a difficult position. "What do I say to the person who has breast cancer or prostate cancer when they find out that the President is pandering to homosexuals and is spending 10 times more on their disease - AIDS - when primarily it is the result of our foolish and immoral choices, as opposed to those who have breast cancer or prostate cancer through no fault of their own".21
And given that the normal procedures associated with infectious diseases have not been used on AIDS, for fear of homosexual protests, it is clear, as some have put it, that AIDS has become the nation's first politically protected disease. But AIDS should be treated as a medical issue, not a political one.
AIDS is a health epidemic, requiring stringent measures. This should include all the normal means of prevention of transmission: Public Health Departments should be able to know who has the disease through case monitoring and contact tracing; routine testing must be undertaken; and notification of carriers should be mandatory. As one author says, "we must stop romanticising AIDS".22
One American doctor puts the situation in striking terms: "If a foreign nation were to attack our shores and kill 10,000 Americans, it would be considered an act of war. Yet, millions of Americans have already been unnecessarily infected in this epidemic and they will almost all die. The tragedy is that this epidemic should never have occurred."23
Such numbers may well be associated with the outbreak of SARS. Yet because we are taking necessary step to reign in the spread of this virus, we may be spared such high figures. The question is, how many people have unnecessarily died because we did not take the same prudent and needed steps to curtail the spread of HIV/AIDS?
1 Adam Carr, AIDS 2001: from gay male cancer to global epidemic," B.News, 3 January 2002, p. 28.
2 Lawrence McNamee and Brian McNamee, AIDS: The Nation's First Politically Protected Disease. La Habra, Ca.: National Medical Legal Publishing House, 1988, p. 5.
3 Michael Fumento, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS. New York: Basic Books, 1990, p. 151.
4 Ibid., p. 150.
5Cited in Mary-Anne Toy, "Putting a rein on HIV," The Age, 29 November 1997.
6 Garrett Prestage, et. al., Sydney Gay Community Periodic Survey. Sydney: Report Series C.4.: "Changes in Behaviour over Time". Sydney: National Centre in HIV Epidemiological and Clinical Research and National Centre in HIV Social Research, January 2000., p. 28.
7 Robert Lusetich, "AIDS fears as gays spurn rubber," The Australian, 8 September 1999, p. 11.
8 Quoted in Georgina Safe, "Gay abandon," The Australian, 21 September 1999, p. 13.
9 Glenn Mitchell, "HIV jump as risks ignored," The Herald Sun, 5 January 2001, p. 12.
10 Clive Aspin, et. al., Queensland Gay Community Periodic Survey: June 2000. Sydney: National Centre in HIV Social Research, 2000, p. 22.
11 Jen Kelly, "HIV partners sought," The Herald Sun, 27 December 2000, p. 20.
12 William Bennett, "For our children's sake" in Jo Ann Gasper, ed., What You Need to Know About AIDS. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Books, 1989, p. 143.
13 Cited in Magnuson, p. 132.
14 Julie Robotham, "Drugs for HIV cost up to $59m," The Age, 23 November, 1998, p. 8.
15 Sue Williams, "Beyond the Ordeal," The Australian Magazine, 13-14 May, 1995, p. 12.
16 Julian Cribb, "Cancer the biggest killer for second year," The Australian, 24 September 1993.
17 1994-95 Budget Statements.
18 Jane Fraser, "Lady Killers," The Australian, 5 July 1993, p. 9.
19 Gene Antonio, AIDS: Rage and Reality. Dallas: Anchor Books, 1993, p. 2.
20 Cited in Carl Ramsey, "Clinton's homosexual bias shortchanges cancer victims," Focus on the Family Citizen, January 1998, p. 5.
22 Lorraine Day, AIDS: What the Government Isn't Telling You. Palm Desert, Ca.: Rockford Press, 1991, p. 266.
23 Stanley Monteith, AIDS: The Unnecessary Epidemic. Sevierville, TN: Covenant House Books, 1991, p.