Some important facts about HIV/AIDS

In order to understand why global policy efforts to set an end to HIV/AIDS have been so regrettably ineffective, one should be aware of the following facts:

  • AIDS is an infectious disease that affects, and ultimately destroys, the patient’s immune system. Once the immune system is decisively weakened or destroyed, the patient will not be able to resist other diseases, against which an intact immune system would protect him.
  • The disease is caused by the HI-virus, which is transmitted through the exchange of body liquid. This happens mainly through sexual intercourse. Another relatively frequent way of transmission is the re-use of (infected) injection needles by drug addicts. Besides these two, other ways of transmission are truly exceptional. One does not contract AIDS simply through normal social contact with an HIV-positive person.
  • AIDS has a relatively long incubation period, i.e. it is only several months or more than one year after having been infected that an HIV-positive person will begin noticing the first symptoms of the disease.
  • Although there is, after more than 30 years of assiduous research (counting from 1980, when the disease first broke out), no medical treatment available that could heal a patient from AIDS, there are anti-retroviral treatments that, if consistently applied, can stabilize his condition during a considerable period of time. In other words, it is possible to “live with AIDS”, although it will be a miserable life in permanently bad health.
  • A person carrying the HI-Virus is most likely to transmit the virus in the first few months after having caught the virus. During that period, he will still feel healthy (and will maintain his habitual sex life, which is decisive in the context of a disease that is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse), while at the same time his body’s immune system will not yet have fully geared up to fight the infection. In the further course of the disease, the immune system will first manage to gear up resistance against the HI-virus (which means that the virus will be less prevalent in the patient’s body liquids, and the patient hence less infectious), until, ultimately, it will be worn out. At the end the immune system breaks down and the patient succumbs to the disease, but in that last phase he will be less likely to transmit the virus to others, because by then both his own sexual appetite will have diminished, and he will have become quite unattractive as a sex partner.

Of all the regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa has been most severely hit by AIDS. While in Sub-Saharan Africa the disease affects homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, in other countries (and notably in Europe and North America) it is a disease almost exclusively affecting men having sex with men (MSM) and, to a somewhat lesser extent, drug users.

This has two reasons. The first is that, like any other sexually transmissible disease, HIV/AIDS is most easily transmitted through “sexual networks”, i.e. among people who are habitually entertaining several intimate sexual relationships at the same time. More than anywhere else in the world, this is the case in sub-Saharan Africa, where polygamy and promiscuous sex is, or used to be, rampant. In Europe and North America, by contrast, even the break-down of traditional marriage values has not led to a pervasive polyamorous life-style; instead the prevailing lifestyle among heterosexuals is that of “serial monogamy”: people tend to have a series of more or less durable romantic relationships in which they try to maintain sexual fidelity. Once such a relationship ends, another one can begin – but it still remains, in principle, “monogamous”.

This is, however, different for homosexuals. Multiple sexual relationships are pervasive among the gay community, including among homosexuals who live in a “committed and durable same-sex partnership”. This is quite understandable: while in a marriage between a man and a woman sexuality is subordinate to the founding of a family and the raising of common children, both of which would be undermined through sexual infidelity, in a homosexual partnership there is no such commitment to a higher purpose. Having sex for the sole purpose of experiencing physical pleasure is quintessential for the homosexual lifestyle, and there is no plausible reason why sexual fidelity should have to be part of this. As a matter of consequence, most homosexuals are part of a large “sexual network” in which HIV/AIDS can spread easily.

But there is a second point that creates a specific nexus between HIV/AIDS and “men having sex with men”. MSM engage in certain kinds of sexual activities (such as, in particular, anal sex) that do not correspond to the design of nature and, therefore, frequently cause lesions through which the transmission of the HI-virus from one person to the next is greatly facilitated.

AIDS is therefore linked, in the first place, to sexual promiscuity and, in the second place, to sodomy, i.e. (male) homosexual activity.

How to prevent HIV/AIDS

The wrong approach: creating illusions about “safe sex”

Any strategy to fight HIV/AIDS, in order to be successful, would have to address these causes. But the strategies developed by the UN, the EU, and the United States, fail to do so.

While obviously all efforts to find treatments, including (if possible) vaccines, against AIDS, and to make those treatments available also to populations in poor and developing countries (in particular sub-Saharan Africa) must be continued and strengthened, the international community’s strategy to prevent new infections is blinded by ideology, and hence misguided. If not changed, it will at best remain ineffective, and at worst even exacerbate the situation.

The ideology that has undermined the world’s response to AIDS right from the beginning is that of the post-1968 Cultural Revolution. For this reason, this strategy systematically avoids addressing the behavioural patterns that, as we have seen, have most decisively contributed (and continue contributing) to the spreading of HIV/AIDS across the world: sexual promiscuity and (male) sodomy. It erects a taboo around these sacrosanct “achievements”: people must not be asked to change their sexual behaviour, even if that behaviour is known to be irresponsible and self-destructive. Instead, it falsely – and, as we must suspect, against better knowledge – suggests that this irresponsible sexual behaviour could be turned into “safe sex” through the use of condoms.scan0001_0

The use of condoms will never turn high risk sexual behaviour into a safe one. At best, the use of condoms may reduce (but not completely rule out) the risk of infection with regard to each sexual intercourse in which they are used. But that will not work out as a strategy to avoid infection with HIV/AIDS. A person who consistently uses condoms, but who with equal consistence engages in sexual activity with HIV-positive persons, will in the long run nearly unavoidably be infected: even if condom use were 99% efficient (which it isn’t), having sex twice a month with an HIV-positive partner would with great probability lead to an HIV-infection within two years.

scan0002_1It should, in this context, be noted that condoms can achieve even this level of “safety” only under two conditions: they must (1) be used correctly and (2) not be damaged. In this regard, a look at the instructions for use is highly instructive: it shows that even the condom industry is perfectlty aware that condoms may break and that, even if all instructions are followed, they do not provide for absolute protection.

In this regard, it is helpful to take a closer look at what condom producers have themselves to say on the issue – for example in the instructions for use of their products (you may click on the images to see them in full size). As one sees there, the possibility of a rupture of the condom is explicitly mentioned in sections 1 and 3 of the leaflet. Section 3 also mentions the possibility of a “spill-over”, and warns that the condom in the (freshly purchased?) package might be damaged (in which case it obviously shouldn’t be used). Section 4 acknowledges that 100% effectiveness cannot be guaranteed. The claim that is made is far more modest: “condoms, if properly used, will help to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV infection (AIDS) and many other diseases…”.

It should be noted that no claim is made as to the extent in which the use of condoms may reduce the risk of infections – instead, the claim is that, without further qualification or specification, “the use of condoms may reduce the risk…”

This claim is certainly a fair and realistic one (and certainly more honest than the statements of certain politicians or NGOs) – but it is far from saying that sex with condoms is “safe”.

The conclusion that must be drawn from this is clear and unavoidable: an HIV/AIDS prevention strategy that is exclusively or predominantly based on the promotion of condom use is bound to remain unsuccessful. Such a strategy can even with right be called irresponsible, counterproductive and outright dangerous, as it may encourage people to continue engaging in hazardous behaviour. Those who promote such strategies may be responsible for millions of avoidable deaths.

All this is not to say that condoms can play no role at all in HIV/AIDS prevention. But they are only a solution of last resort for all those who, even through accurate information on the way in which HIV/AIDS is transmitted, cannot be discouraged from engaging from promiscuous and homosexual behaviour.

The right approach: informing people correctly, and encouraging them to avoid high-risk sexual behaviour

The best – and in fact the only realistic – way to avoid HIV/AIDS infection is the avoidance of high-risk sexual behaviour. The only HIV/AIDS prevention strategy that will have realistic (and indeed very good) chances of success is one that promotes behavioural change, i.e. that encourages people, for the sake of their own lives and those of their beloved ones, to abstain from promiscuous or homosexual sex. Human beings are rational – therefore they are capable of changing their sexual behaviour if they understand that this is in their own best interest.

The effectiveness of this approach is confirmed by experience. A case that deserves particular mention in this context is Uganda, a country that in the late 1980s was widely viewed as the country most affected by HIV/AIDS in the world. By 1989, all districts of Uganda were affected with a rural infection rate approaching 18 percent and an urban rate of 30 percent. As the country was in the middle of a civil war, it was hardly accessible for foreign humanitarian aid providers. The only possibility for the government to bring the epidemic to a halt was through an information campaign (mainly via radio) that warned in drastic terms about the risk of extra-marital sex (“zero grazing” campaign). This campaign, known as the ABC-strategy (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condom use) put the emphasis on promoting behavioural change, and advocated condom use only as a solution of last resort. It was immensely successful, reducing the prevalence of HIV-infection from nearly 30% to about 5% of the population, and turning Uganda into the country with the lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the region. (This was in part due to the fact that many who had been infected died, but in part to a very low number of new infections.)Uganda

This success was only mitigated when international “donors” arrived in the country and started advocating condom use rather than responsible sexual behaviour. The EU plays a particularly bad role in this: until this day, the European Commission’s DG for Development Co-operation refuses to acknowledge the importance of promoting behavioural change. While the Commission’s Communication on “a coherent European policy framework for external action to confront HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis”[1] contains only the mention that “condom use, and harm reduction programmes including needle-exchange for injecting drug users, have to be promoted as methods of HIV/AIDS prevention”, the possibility of advocating abstinence from drug use and promiscuous sexual behaviour is not even contemplated! Although the Commission appears fully aware that these behaviours are the main causes for the spreading of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it fails to address them. But the ignorance and ideological blindness are even worse in other EU institutions: when Pope Benedict XVI. on a visit to Africa stated that condoms were not the answer to the continent’s fight against HIV/AIDS and could make the problem worse, this statement, while it raised absolutely no negative reactions in Africa, prompted some radical politicians in the European Parliament to submit a motion for a resolution in which his declaration was to be “energetically condemned”.[2] The motion was (rather narrowly) defeated, but it evidenced that for many European politicians sexual promiscuity and sodomy are acquired “rights” that must not be called in question even at the price of millions of deaths caused by AIDS.

HIV/AIDS and the “Gay Agenda”

The Commission’s ignorance of the importance of behavioural change in AIDS prevention, and the European Parliament’s aggressive reaction to Pope Benedict’s perfectly sensible statement on condom use, can hardly be explained by anything else than ideological blindness.  To understand this attitude and put it into a broader context, one must consider the importance of HIV/AIDS as one of the drivers of the “Gay Agenda” to which the EU’s institutions are so strongly attached.

Paradoxical though it may seem, the AIDS epidemic was instrumental, and keeps being instrumentalized, by the gay lobby’s strategy to define homosexuals as a class of “victims” to which the rest of society owes respect and special consideration. As Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, the master-minds of gay propaganda in the United States, wrote in 1989:

“As cynical as it may seem, AIDS gives us a chance, however brief, to establish ourselves as a victimized minority legitimately deserving of … special protection and care. How can we maximize the sympathy… how can we position ourselves to take full advantage of the brief moment of reconciliation and good feeling toward gays that might follow?”[3]

These words were visionary and prophetic. It remains one of the most remarkable achievements of gay propaganda to have successfully framed gays as the innocent “victims” of HIV/AIDS, when it actually was their own behaviour that contributed more than anything else to turning HIV/AIDS into the global epidemic it is today. “Patient Zero”, the first known person to have AIDS, was a Canadian flight attendant named Gaëtan Dugas, who, upon learning of the characteristics of the disease he was suffering from, allegedly continued having sex with (according to his own words) “hundreds of men every year, thus intentionally infecting, or at least recklessly endangering, others with the virus. At the time of its emergence in 1980, the hitherto unknown  pandemic was first called GRID (Gay-related Immunodeficiency Disease); the name was changed into AIDS only afterwards for reasons of political correctness, but – with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa – MSM continue to be the by far largest group affected by it.

It is not our objective here to dissuade readers from feeling sympathy and compassion for those suffering from a deadly disease, even if that condition may be self-inflicted. Nonetheless, it is clear that HIV/AIDS will not be overcome unless the world understands and accepts the need for behavioural change. That change, however, would strike a terrible blow to the post-1968 “Sexual Revolution”, and in particular to the “Gay Agenda”. It would imply that gays should change their behaviour, which in turn would pre-suppose that they can change it. But this mere possibility would undermine the entire “Gay Agenda”, which is built on the doctrine that homosexual behaviour is  “innate”, “unalterable” and “normal”. If neither unalterable nor normal, there would be absolutely no reason why gays should not be asked to change, given the health risks it poses for themselves and the rest of us.

Thus, the “Gay Agenda” is now more or less married to the pandemic, and holding the rest of the world as hostages. HIV/AIDS helped to elevate sodomy into an acceptable lifestyle, and as long as this remains so, the pandemic will remain with us too.

[1] COM (2004) 726 final, 26 October 2004, point 2.2 at p. 4

[2] see the European Parliament’s Report of proceedings, final version (translated), P6_CRE(2009)05-07, at p. 37

[3] M. Kirk / H. Madsen, After the Ball, New York: Doubleday, 1989