Rethinking Rethinking AIDS Day

Today, apparently, is “Rethinking AIDS Day”. Or so we’re told by a group of AIDS denialists who gather under the banner of RethinkingAIDS.com. They and their mates have a channel on Youtube, too, called HIVquestions. They’ve been inviting me to sign up since I posted a video explaining that in some countries, counterintuitively enough, more premarital sex could translate into less risk for HIV.

Do I believe we need to rethink our approach to AIDS? Absolutely — that’s why I’ve written The Wisdom of Whores. But what I’m promoting is a completely different type of rethinking, almost exactly the reverse of the denialist approach. We agree that a lot of people in Big Pharma and the Do-Good industries have made a lot of money by manipulating the facts about HIV. We also agree that we’ll never conquer AIDS unless we start confronting the facts. But we disagree profoundly on the facts (which are, for the record, that the HIV virus, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or genital fluids of an infected person usually during sex or drug injection, attacks and eventually destroys the human immune system).

The denialists believe that we’re not conquering AIDS because we’re treating it like an infectious disease. I contend that we’re not conquering AIDS because we’re NOT treating it like an infectious disease.

By all means read their screed and watch their videos. In my opinion, the denialists want to substitute a new form of denial (HIV-doesn’t-cause-AIDS) for the existing form of denial (sex-and-drugs-don’t-cause-AIDS). It’s hard enough getting public health officials to recognise that most people contract HIV when they are doing something they know is risky because they want to get high, get laid, or get paid. It doesn’t help to add another distortion. (Re)think about it.

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This post was published on 23/04/08 in Ideology and HIV.

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