Editor’s note: Radio talk-show host Phil Valentine’s new book, “Right from the Heart,” presents compelling arguments on a host of public-policy issues – one for each letter of the alphabet, from A to Z. Hailed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity as “one of the most important pieces of conservative work in recent memory,” Valentine’s book provides the reader with ammunition to debunk the many politically correct positions presented in America today.
Today, tomorrow and Friday, WND will present excerpts from three chapters of the book. Today’s excerpt from Chapter 1 deals with the realities of AIDS. “Right from the Heart” is available at WorldNetDaily’s online store, ShopNetDaily.
AIDS Has a cure; it’s called abstinence.
As provocative and implacable a statement as this might be, you know in your heart it’s true. To understand the race to find a cure you must also understand how long a cure for any virus has eluded researchers. Almost since the dawn of medicine, man has been looking for a cure for viruses. An Egyptian carving dating from about 1500 B.C. depicts a priest with a shriveled leg, a characteristic of recovery from paralysis caused by the polio virus. It wasn’t until the 1950s that a vaccine was developed. Mind you, that wasn’t – and isn’t – a cure. It’s an inoculation, a way of preventing the disease before it strikes.
The flu virus has a similar history. The name influenza was first given to a disease that caused an epidemic of fevers in Venice around 1300 A.D. The disease was thought to be caused by an “influence” of an odd alignment of the planets. It was centuries later that preventive immunization was developed. Some might call that a cure, but it only works if you’re immunized before you get the disease. The point is that we’ve searched for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years and we’ve not yet found what could be called a real cure for viruses. We haven’t even found the cure for the common cold. Well, sometimes the answer is as simple as using a little common sense.
Scientists know that developing something that will prevent a viral disease is about the best you can hope for. If you don’t have a vaccine, containment is the name of the game. When a particular virus breaks out, you isolate those who have the disease in order to keep it from spreading, thus allowing it to die out. Why, then, do you think researchers would treat AIDS any differently?
The truth is, AIDS is without a doubt one of the most preventable deadly diseases in the history of this country. We know exactly how it’s transmitted. We know exactly who is most at risk. We know exactly how to prevent it. We don’t need a vaccine. The spread of AIDS is almost wholly the result of reckless behavior. There are indeed horror stories of people contracting AIDS through blood transfusions, but those cases are extremely rare (about 0.5 percent of all AIDS cases). That’s not to say that we shouldn’t have compassion for people afflicted with this disease. We most certainly should. People find themselves with all sorts of ailments due to bad choices, and kicking them when they’re down serves no purpose. We should treat them with compassion just like anyone else who is dying, but it only serves to perpetuate the problem if we continue to condone the behavior that causes it.
Our country’s approach to the AIDS problem (it’s not an epidemic, by the way) has been to throw good money after bad in search of an elusive cure while failing to condemn the very behavior that’s at the root of the problem. Passing out condoms at school in an effort to stop the spread of AIDS is like handing out low-nicotine cigarettes as a means of stamping out smoking. Both send the wrong message: that the behavior is OK as long as you’re “safe.” Cities across the country do the same with needle exchange programs instead of attacking the basic problem of intravenous drug use. Come exchange your dirty needle for a shiny, new, clean one, they beg. It’s easy to cry that our need to save lives is immediate thus justifying programs like needle exchange, but short-term solutions have long-term consequences. You don’t patch a roof with cardboard. It may get you through one rainy day, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Nor does the patchwork approach solve the AIDS problem.
When a plague was really a plague
Bubonic plague devastated Europe beginning in the 17th century. Long before Alexandre Yersin discovered the cause of bubonic plague in the late 1800s, humans had already figured out how to prevent the deadly disease. Although they didn’t know that rats transmitted the disease through fleas, they deduced that unsanitary conditions caused it to flourish. Once they became more sanitary, the plague disappeared. They learned that the disease was a result of their behavior, and they modified that behavior to rid themselves of the disease.
AIDS is no different, and we know so much more about its cause than those Europeans knew about the plague. It is inexcusable that we have such knowledge at our fingertips yet we refuse to take the behavioral steps necessary to rid ourselves of AIDS. And unlike the plague, which wiped out a third of the population in England around 1665 (now that’s an epidemic), AIDS is far from being such a destructive force in America. Despite assertions from the “Blame Reagan” crowd in the ’80s, claiming that he was responsible for the spread of AIDS, it didn’t wipe out the United States nor was it ever a threat to do so. Those frantic alarmists screamed that we were all going to die from AIDS unless the government found a cure. We didn’t find a cure, and we’re still here.
Even the scientific community got caught up in the exaggeration. In 1986, the National Academy of Sciences predicted that 50,000 people a year would be dying of AIDS by 1991. The New York Times reported in 1987: “Federal scientists project that by the end of 1991, total cases will reach 270,000 with 179,000 deaths.” The actual number was just under 30,000. In the last 20 years, 457,667 people have died from AIDS. That’s an average of less than 23,000 per year. Keep in mind that AIDS deaths have been on the decline for several years.
The death toll due to AIDS in 2000 was 14,370. By comparison, 31,224 died of blood poisoning in 2000, while 553,091 died of cancer, 69,301 died of diabetes, 65,313 died of the flu and pneumonia, and 710,760 died of some sort of cardiovascular disease. Heck, 37,251 people died of nephritis, for crying out loud. (That’s kidney disease, by the way.) When was the last time you saw a celebrity sporting a nephritis ribbon at an awards show? To put it another way, cardiovascular disease accounts for about 30 percent of all deaths. AIDS accounts for 0.6 percent. In case you missed the decimal point, that’s point six percent. Even at its peak, AIDS accounted for no more than 2 percent of annual deaths. That’s a far cry from an epidemic. If it is, in fact, an epidemic, why don’t we hear about the septicemia epidemic that kills twice as many people each year?
The heterosexual myth
Contrary to the PR campaign launched by the AIDS lobby, this disease will never be a problem for the vast majority of us. Let’s look at the real numbers. The latest data show that only about two-tenths of one percent of the American population has AIDS. Less than three-hundredths of one percent of the population has AIDS and is heterosexual.
The fact remains that, by far, the highest risk categories are gay men and intravenous drug users. Those two categories make up at least 78 percent of the AIDS cases. Of the small number of heterosexuals with AIDS, 99 percent contracted the disease from someone who was either gay, bisexual or an intravenous drug user.
So, it’s clear where the risk lies, but the AIDS lobby would have you think that everyone is at peril of contracting AIDS. They have perpetuated a myth that AIDS is infecting the heterosexual community at alarming rates in order to galvanize support in the federal government for more and more funding for AIDS research. In his book “The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS,” Michael Fumento points out that heterosexuals are in less danger of contracting AIDS than they are of dying from shark attacks, being hit by lightning or accidentally drowning in the bathtub.
We know what causes AIDS. More important, we know that the most effective way to rid our country of AIDS is to stop the risky behavior. Instead, those at greatest risk want the government to spend every dime it takes to find a cure. That’s akin to someone with lung cancer continuing to smoke while admonishing the government for not spending enough on cancer research.
Surprisingly, there have been precious few studies gauging the average life expectancy of a gay male. Paul Cameron of The Cameron Group conducted a “study” a few years back and determined that the average homosexual’s life expectancy was 42 years. Before you go spouting that statistic, be forewarned that his methodology was highly questionable. He scanned obituaries from gay newspapers and compared the average age of death with those of men in regular newspapers. As you might imagine, all sorts of variables come into play.
First of all, gay newspapers tend to cater to the more radical homosexuals, thus the more promiscuous. They would certainly run a greater risk of dying from AIDS than their not-so-promiscuous counterparts. Second, the editor has control over which obituary gets printed. A 75-year-old gay man dying of cancer is not news, whereas a 32-year-old man dying of AIDS is. Guess who makes the paper? It is also impossible to determine that every male in the regular newspaper was straight. Needless to say, the Cameron study is far from reliable. Bill Bennett, who cited the Cameron statistics on TV and in an article, later recanted after learning the circumstances of the study.
Having said all that, it stands to reason that if gay men are subject to the same diseases as straight men and are also at much greater risk of AIDS, their life expectancy is, naturally, going to be less than that of heterosexual males. How much less is still a mystery, but, without question, the gay lifestyle is a risky one. How risky? Let me put it to you this way: At the height of the AIDS problem in the early ’90s, your chance of contracting AIDS from a single act of unprotected heterosexual intercourse was 1 in 715,000. The odds for a homosexual were 1 in 165. And no wonder. AIDS-infected men had, on average, 1,100 sexual partners!
The bug chasers
Probably the sickest and most disturbing aspect of the whole AIDS issue is a phenomenon known inside the gay community as “bug chasers.” These are homosexual men with a death wish. They seek out AIDS-infected men with whom to have sex. An article published in Rolling Stone magazine claimed that 25 percent of all new AIDS cases are bug chasers, although some experts say the number is much lower. Rolling Stone stands behind its numbers.
A gay man who went by the name of “Carlos” in the article said bug chasers contract the disease as the ultimate sexual thrill, as demented as that may sound. “His eyes light up,” a passage from the article reads, “as he says that the actual moment of transmission, the instant he gets HIV will be the ‘most erotic thing I can imagine.’” Carlos goes on to say that should he become “positive,” he would enjoy spreading the virus to a new partner. “I’m murdering him in a sense, killing him slowly, and that’s sort of, as sick as it sounds, exciting to me,” he said.
It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it, that while these nut cases from ACT UP disrupt church services and even halt trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for a short period, some of the people they’re trying to help are purposely seeking out the disease. This is all further evidence that AIDS is a behavioral disease, exactly what Cardinal O’Connor in New York has been preaching and the exact reason ACT UP and other AIDS activists are mad at the Catholic Church. It’s time for ACT UP to GROW UP. Take responsibility for your own actions instead of expecting someone else to come behind you and clean up your mess. If you’re engaging in risky behavior, stop it, but don’t expect me to pay to facilitate it.
Valentine continues the chapter by discussing AIDS in Africa.