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Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
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Finally - confirmation in a widely read and respected newspaper
- but still not being reported by the broader media - Unless you're doing drugs
or are on the receiving end of anal sex, it's nearly impossible to get AIDS. The
Government should spend the dollars where they can do the most good and quit paranoying
the non-drug using heterosexual community with lies to get funding.
Wall Street Journal Highlights of May 1, 1996 (some highlights)
"AIDS Fight Is Skewed By Federal Campaign
Exaggeraring Risks - Most Heterosexuals Face Scant Peril but Receive Large Portion
In the summer of 1987, federal health officials made the fateful decision to bombard
the public with a terrifying message: Anyone could get AIDS. While the message was
technically true, it was also highly misleading. Everyone certainly faced some danger,
but for most heterosexuals' the risk from a single act of sex was smaller than the
risk of ever getting hit by lightning. In the U.S., the disease was, and remains,
largely the scourge of gay men, intravenous drug users, their sex partners and their
Nonetheless, a bold public-relations campaign promised to sound a general alarm
about AIDS, lifting it from a homosexual concern to a national obsession and accelerating
efforts to eradicate the disease. For people devoted to public health, it seemed
the best course to take.
But nine years after the America Responds to AIDS campaign first hit the airwaves,
many scientists and doctors are raising new questions. Increasingly, they worry
that the everyone-gets-AIDS message - still trumpeted not only by government agencies
but by celebrities and the media - is more than just dishonest: It is also having
a perverse, potentially deadly effect on funding for AIDS prevention.
The emphasis on the broad reach of the disease has virtually ensured that precious
funds won't go where they are most needed. For instance, though homosexuals and
intravenous drug users now account for 83% of all AIDS cases reported in the U.S.,
the federal AIDS-prevention budget includes no specific allocation for programs
for homosexual and bisexual men. And needle-exchange programs, widely seen as among
the most effective methods available in fighting infection among drug users, are
denied any federal funding.
Much of the Centers for Disease Control's $584 million AIDS prevention budget goes
instead to programs to combat the disease among heterosexual women, college students
and others who face a relatively low risk of becoming infected. Federally funded
testing programs alone, which primarily serve low-risk groups, account for roughly
20% of the entire budget.
Some scientists charge that tens of thousands of infections a year could be averted
if only practical assistance were directed to the right people. Instead of aiming
general warnings at non-drug using heterosexuals, these critics say, the government
should use the bulk of its anti-AIDS money to teach homosexual men to avoid unprotected
anal sex and to dissuade addicts from sharing infected needles.
"You can't stop this epidemic if you spend the money where
the epidemic hasn't happened," says Ron Stall, associate professor of
epidemiology at the University of California in San Francisco.
Helene Gayle, who is in charge of AIDS prevention at the CDC, agrees that "increasingly,
it is important to shift strategies to meet the epidemic." She says that the
CDC, by giving communities more freedom to decide how to spend federal AIDS money,
is now seeking to direct more help to those who need it most.
But she defends the CDC's pivotal decision in 1987 to emphasize the universality
of AIDS: "One should not underestimate the fear and confusion this disease
caused early on," Dr. Gayle says. "We needed to build a base of understanding
before we could go for the jugular."
Certainly, powerful political and social forces at work nine years ago made it nearly
impossible for health officials to focus attention on those most at risk, a reconstruction
of events of that year shows. And though, as Dr. Gayle says, the CDC is now trying
to revamp its AIDS-prevention efforts, the same forces that shaped public policy
in 1987 are making it difficult for the government to change directions, even now.
Understanding the Risks
By 1987, CDC officials already had a fairly clear picture of where and how AIDS
was spreading - and how much risk different groups faced. The disease was proving
less likely to be transmitted through vaginal intercourse than many had feared.
A major study that was just being completed put the average risk from a one-time
heterosexual encounter with someone not in a high-risk group at one in five million
without use of a condom, and one in 50 million for condom users.
Homosexuals, needle-sharing drug users and their sex partners, however, were in
grave danger. A single act of anal sex with an infected partner, or a single injection
with an AIDS-tainted needle, carried as much as a one in 50 chance of infection.
For people facing these risks, it was fair to say AIDS was truly a modern-day plague.
(See story on page A6.)
The article is very long and details many of the heterosexual scare campaigns as
well as the medical facts showing all the wasted funds on heterosexuals with virtually
no risk. The article also contrasts the U.S. vs. Asia and African situation which
is so vastly different that it has no relevance to the U.S. risk.
Many of the studies are the same as we've been sharing for many years and totally
supports all the information we've been sharing in our AIDS reports.
I suggest anyone who still thinks heterosexuals are at any significant risk for
AIDS, get the full article and study it.
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