How exactly *is* HIV transmitted? The Official answer:
From “HIV and Its Transmission”, a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency of the USA Department of Health and Human Services) fact sheet:
(Last Updated: September 22, 2003)
Research has revealed a great deal of valuable medical, scientific, and public health information about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The ways in which HIV can be transmitted have been clearly identified. Unfortunately, false information or statements that are not supported by scientific findings continue to be shared widely through the Internet or popular press. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prepared this fact sheet to correct a few misperceptions about HIV.
How HIV is Transmitted
HIV is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection) with someone who is infected, or, less commonly [...]
CDC is committed to providing the scientific community and the public with accurate and objective information about HIV infection and AIDS. It is vital that clear information on HIV infection and AIDS be readily available to help prevent further transmission of the virus and to allay fears and prejudices caused by misinformation.
Government-nurtured fear of AIDS, achieving pro-family goals
Though scientists and anti-AIDS activists knew that the government-nurtured fear of AIDS among upscale, non-drug-using heterosexuals was exaggerated, not everyone thought this was a bad thing. Indeed, many credited rampant fear with achieving pro-family goals that no amount of moralizing alone could have accomplished. [...]
“I don’t see that much downside in slightly exaggerating [AIDS risk]” says John Ward, chief of the CDC branch that keeps track of AIDS cases. “Maybe they’ll wear a condom. Maybe they won’t sleep with someone they don’t know.”
AIDS Fight is Skewed by Federal Campaign Exaggerating Risks, Wall Street Journal, May 1, 1996. Cover story, by Amanda Bennett and Anita Sharpe, staff reporters.
Notes from a discussion at the conference AIDS in Africa, December 8th 2003 in the European Parliament, with Stuart BRODY, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, University of Tubingen, Germany.
Dr. Brody is a member of the David Gisselquist group that has published several papers during the last year questioning sexual and vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The group has suggested that medical or iatrogenic transmission through unclean injections in Africa may be the explanation for “HIV infections” in the continent.
With the intent of censoring their views, UNAIDS and WHO held a meeting with these researchers in March, 2003, and released a declaration stating: “An expert group has reaffirmed that unsafe sexual practices are responsible for the vast majority of HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa, and that safer sex promotion must remain the primary feature of prevention programs in the region.”
The Official WHO and UNAIDS statement (where the experts remain anonymous):
Expert group stresses that unsafe sex is primary mode of transmission of HIV in Africa. WHO and UNAIDS Expert Group Statement, 14 March 2003. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2003
A reply from the David Gisselquist group has been published in the Science’s AIDS Prevention and Vaccine Research Site, here is the introduction:
The belief that sex is the primary mode of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission in sub-Saharan Africa is an assertion so widely accepted and has remained unquestioned for so long that it has taken on the status of a received truth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recently convened an expert consultation to review issues raised in a series of papers published in the International Journal of STD & AIDS (1 -4) that questioned the validity of that assertion. After examining the papers, WHO and UNAIDS issued a press release announcing that “the vast majority of evidence [supports the view] that unsafe sexual practices continue to be responsible for the overwhelming majority of infections” (5). As co-authors of the controversial articles (1 -4), and as participants in the Geneva meeting (three of us), we state that WHO’s conclusion is premature. It is neither based on those discussions, nor on a more considered review of the relevant literature.
Gisselquist D, Potterat JJ, et al, Examining the hypothesis that sexual transmission drives Africa’s HIV epidemic, AIDScience, 2003;3(10).
ABC approach to behaviour change
In 2001, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) endorsed the ABC approach to preventing HIV infection. The ABC approach to behaviour change gives three clear messages for preventing the transmission of HIV.
ABC stands for: Abstain from having sexual relations or, for youth, delay having sex; Be faithful to one uninfected partner; and use Condoms consistently and correctly.
State of world population 2003 report, United Nations Population Fund.
We were moving toward a more feeling, freer society
I rank the publicizing of AIDS right up there with the atomic bomb as events that impacted our culture for the worse. We were moving toward a more feeling, freer society until AIDS
Jack Nicholson, actor in 58 movies, with 12 Oscar nominations and 3 statuettes, Playboy interview, January 2004, 50th anniversary issue.
AIDS is not just another disease. [...]
It is the ultimate triumph of politics over science.
Michael Fumento, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, 1990. Michael Fumento, author, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues, is a former AIDS analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
AIDS is the most political disease of our age.
By 1987, media reporting on AIDS and safe sex education had penetrated the consciousness of most sexually active men and women. The US Surgeon General summed up the effects of the massive campaign by declaring that “AIDS has killed the sexual revolution”
Hiram Caton, The Aids Mirage. Professor Hiram Caton (1995) is Head of the School of Applied Ethics at Griffith University, Queensland, and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Biology.
Everybody’s not doing it. That’s the word from Newsweek, The Atlantic, and other trend watchers: Couples are having less sex these days than even in the famously uptight ‘50s. Why? Busy, exhausting lives is the easy answer. But how Americans view eroticism in the wake of recent sexual and social revolutions may be an even bigger factor, according to a growing number of researchers and social observers.
Introduction to the cover story “In search of Erotic Intelligence”, Utne Reader, September / October 2003.