HIV Transmission Through Heterosexual Sex in Africa, United States ‘Seems Grossly Exaggerated,’ Opinion Piece Says
The proportion of HIV cases in Africa and the United States attributable to transmission through heterosexual sex "seems grossly exaggerated," Michael Fumento, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of "The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS," writes in a Washington Times opinion piece. Three "renegade" scientists -- John Potterat, who began working for the El Paso County, Colo., health department in 1972 and initiated the first U.S. partner-tracing program for HIV/AIDS; Stuart Brody, soon-to-be full professor of psychology at the University of Paisley in Scotland; and David Gisselquist, an adviser to India's government on HIV/AIDS -- "for years" have been insisting that no more than 33% of Africa's HIV/AIDS cases have been caused by heterosexual intercourse, Fumento writes. According to Brody, "contaminated punctures from such sources as medical injections, dental injections, surgical procedures, drawing as well as injecting blood and rehydration through IV tubes" contribute to a greater proportion of HIV cases in Africa and are causes of transmission that are preventable, Fumento writes. However, the World Health Organization and other agencies are "toeing the line" by saying that 99% of Africa's HIV/AIDS cases are caused by sexual transmission -- mostly heterosexual -- showing that "once a paradigm has been established it becomes much easier to justify than challenge," according to Fumento. Fumento concludes that although it would be difficult for scientists to admit that they were wrong about how HIV is transmitted in Africa, "for the sake of millions in Africa and other underdeveloped areas threatened by massive new infections, we had better admit it now" (Fumento, Washington Times, 4/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.