Saturday, January 15, 2011

Apparently, the Truth About HIV is Relative to Nationality and Wealth

A typical article about HIV reads "Cheating spouses have always caused problems for their marriages." That may be so, but it does not mean that 'cheating' drives HIV epidemics in high prevalence African countries. Data about sexual behavior and HIV prevalence show that many people engaging in 'safe' sex become infected with HIV and many engaging in 'unsafe' sex remain uninfected.

It has long been recognised that the majority of HIV infections in several countries, Uganda, Kenya and others, come from people in long term relationships who only have one partner, many of whom take adequate precautions against sexually transmitted HIV.

Of course, you could engage in unsafe sex and become infected non-sexually. You are unlikely to ever find out because if you live in a resource poor country, especially an African country, it will be concluded that you were infected sexually.

Whether you are infected sexually or otherwise, it's good to take precautions against infection of any kind. But it would be pretty stupid to protect yourself against sexually transmitted HIV, for example, and turn a blind eye to the fact that your children are all receiving invasive medical treatment with unsterilized equipment.

Who would be stupid enough to do that? Perhaps people who have been bashed over the head for years about their sexual deviance. Indeed, their sexual deviance is considered so bad that the possibility of their being infected non-sexually by a virus that is difficult to transmit sexually is rarely mentioned.

The article in question, as they usually do, rants on about a discordant couple, where one partner is infected and the other is not. There is no mention of how the one partner became infected nor of how the other is in danger of being infected non-sexually as well as sexually.

Well, UNAIDS and the AIDS orthodoxy are not going to change their tune in a hurry. But they haven't even managed to persuade very many people to use condoms to protect themselves from infection or to get careful advice when they wish to become pregnant. They are even failing in their favorite field, sex.

So underinformed are the majority of people that they know as little about the dual role condoms play in reducing transmission of sexually transmitted infections and preventing unplanned pregnancy as they knew many years ago, before most people had heard about HIV.

The entire process of HIV prevention seems to consist of misinforming people. And the article even refers to a 'myth' about HIV negative people being protected when their partner is on antiretroviral drugs (ARV).

But this is not a myth, even according to the HIV orthodoxy. Big pharma and HIV Incorporated are trying to sell the idea that treatment is prevention; that because those on treatment have a low viral load, they are less likely to infect their partner.

Well, like the myth in the first paragraph, it's more of a half truth. The HIV/AIDS industry has been trying to sell the idea of taking ARVs instead of bothering to carry out any real prevention programs that they might not be able to make huge sums of money out of.

In some Western countries, discordant couples are advised that they can have safe unprotected sex as long as the infected partner has a low viral load as a result of successful ARV adherence. But this is not the advice given in African countries.

And it would be very stupid advice. If we haven't established how most people are becoming infected with HIV, we cannot advise them about what is and what is not safe behavior, about what they can do and what they must avoid.

And that underlines the biggest risk regarding HIV: being African. If you are African, you will not be  told that you face serious risks in health facilities and cosmetic facilities, not just through your sexual partner.

If you are African, you are almost condemned to being infected without anyone noticing until it is too late, especially if you are a woman who is foolish enough to get pregnant.

And when you are found to be HIV positive, because you are African, it will be assumed that you were infected sexually, regardless of how well you may have protected yourself, whether you have had sex or not or anything else. To be African, in the eyes of the orthodoxy, is to be promiscuous.

The most illogical thing is, just because people are promiscuous, and some are, everywhere, that doesn't mean you will be infected sexually. Therefore, the fact that you are infected does not mean you are promiscuous. UNAIDS and the rest of the industry may be obsessed with your sexual behavior, but they don't actually know anything about it, their frequent pronouncements notwithstanding.

An interesting feature of HIV myths is the fact that both those who are in danger of being infected with HIV or of infecting others, and those who are supposed to be responsible for reducing transmission, all have their own myths. And what is a myth in poor countries may be the orthodoxy in rich countries, and vice versa.


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