The African Aids Epidemic

The sub-Saharan epidemic of this horrible disease is hard to understand – if it’s transmitted by sexual contact, mother to baby, and syringes, how come it’s more prevalent in Africa than elsewhere?

The Wikipedia entry claims:

Heterosexual intercourse is the primary mode of HIV infection worldwide.

Then how come the infection rates vary so much – Swaziland has a rate of 38.8%, compared with the US 0.60% and the UK 0.20%?

Sexual practices vary by culture, but they’d have to be pretty bizarre to give an infection rate of one person in 3.

The numbers could be falsified, but why? Inflating the rate of infection just drives away investment and tourists.

Gates of Vienna, in the course of an update on Gaddafi’s latest hostage taking, reports a plausible theory:

An expanding body of evidence challenges the conventional hypothesis that sexual transmission is responsible for more than 90% of adult HIV infections in Africa.Differences in epidemic trajectories across Africa do not correspond to differences in sexual behavior. Studies among African couples find low rates of heterosexual transmission, as in developed countries.

Many studies report HIV infections in African adults with no sexual exposure to HIV and in children with HIV-negative mothers. Unexplained high rates of HIV incidence have been observed in African women during antenatal and postpartum periods.

Many studies show 20%-40% of HIV infections in African adults associated with injections (though direction of causation is unknown).

These and other findings that challenge the conventional hypothesis point to the possibility that HIV transmission through unsafe medical care may be an important factor in Africa’s HIV epidemic.

More research is warranted to clarify risks for HIV transmission through health care.

Gates of Vienna is less circumspect:

In other words, “safe sex” is not the major problem. Safe vaccinations are. WHO pushes childhood vaccinations while knowing the availability of one-use needles is limited, and many children and adults are likely to be infected with HIV, hepatitis, and the other blood-borne diseases. But so what? At least their statistics look good.

Given the level of villainy at the UN, this seems entirely plausible.

In which case the UN will join the Nazis, Soviets, and Chinese communists as one of the modern world’s biggest mass murderers.

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