Hiv Infection In Africa – Sorry Big Boy, Wrong Again!
I wish I had found this website before I embarked on my one year business venture in Thailand. It would have saved me a lot of time and money. But alas this is another story for another day. What I love is the fact ordinary people can offer their advice on love, life and business and we as readers benefit greatly from it. That being said I find that at times some submissions to be irresponsible and being very economical with the truth.
My fellow South African Big Boy seems to base his assertions on HIV on opinion rather than fact. I am in franchising and we have outlets throughout Africa – I know the continent better than 99% of white South Africans and I am a fluent Zulu speaker having grown up on a farm, therefore I am also in a position to understand the culture far better than somebody like Big Boy.
Most of what I write here will concern Africa and not Thailand. The reason for this is because most fear mongers such as Big Boy will use Africa as a base to discuss HIV dangers in Thailand when the truth is they have absolutely no knowledge of what is happening here!
This post is in no way advocating that everyone throw away their condoms and start barebacking every bargirl in sight. What I treasure most is the truth, and people such as Big Boy are extremely economical with the truth!
Firstly I must say I am frankly disgusted that he would tell the world that our president is HIV positive! What right does he have to say that? He has no hard evidence to show this – yes he did have sex with an HIV positive woman, but one off vaginal sex as we can see from the hard evidence carries a risk of infection below 1%. Was it irresponsible? Yes! Did it set a bad example to our youths? Yes! But does it mean he 100% is carrying the virus? Of course not! Saying something like this ruins your credibility as a contributor.
Secondly Thabo Mbeki never denied HIV existed, it again shows you are not doing your research. President Mbeki questioned if HIV infection led to the AIDS virus.
But it is the below comment that I can prove to be rubbish beyond any doubt: “It can’t be wrong. If every trained medical doctor in every country on earth tells you unprotected sex in a high risk group is bad and the WHO backs up this statement and the United Nations starts allocating funds which they would rather spend elsewhere to this issue not to mention thousands of NGO’s and tens of thousands of charities”
The sheer absurdity of this statement is laughable at best. Firstly does EVERY trained medical doctor agree on the statistics? Come on!
Remember that HIV, Cancer, TB or any other disease has a research team that has funding allocated to it. Labs and Universities depend on grants – these grants are prone to favour scientists whose work grips the popular imagination. Every disease has champions who gather the data and proclaim the threat it poses. Malaria fighters will tell you that the crisis is only getting worse, those battling TB will say the same and on it goes. In fact if you added all the claims for all the diseases together you would wind up with a global death toll that exceeds the numbers of humans who die annually by two to three according to Christopher Murray who is a WHO director.
High AIDS numbers are not undesirable in poverty stricken African countries. High numbers equal a deepening crisis, a deepening crisis equals more cash.
Think of the planeloads of safari scientists flying to oversee research projects and brining in with them huge amounts of overseas currency, over $2 billion per year and most of it destined for countries with the highest numbers of infected citizens.
Did you know that in Uganda an AIDS counsellor earns 20 times more than a schoolteacher? In South Africa we have entrepreneurs who set up consultancies, sell herbal immune boosters and vitamin supplements. Think of the money the condom companies are making by selling off free condoms to government to dispense to the general population.
Once impoverished AIDS researchers now have budgets that outstrip their spending capacity. NGOs have sprung up all over Africa – 570 in Zimbabwe, 300 in South Africa, 1300 in Uganda. Spending on AIDS and NGOs has risen by billions of dollars.
So Big Boy – of course these statistics are going to be apocalyptic in nature – if we were to admit that these statistics have been greatly exaggerated then spending would be cut and billions upon billions of dollars would cease to be made available to NGOs and other organizations in Africa. Along with the job implications it would mean many lost dollars in annual revenue from NGO workers and the safari scientists for example.
But what about the data? That’s what you are basing your assumptions on.
In the West the collection of HIV/AIDS data is a fairly simple matter. Almost every new case is scientifically verified and reported to the health authorities who then inform the WHO in Geneva. But AIDS as you pointed out occurs mainly in Africa – hospitals here are thinly spread and lack the laboratory equipment necessary to confirm an infection. African governments are too disorganized to collect the numbers and send them in. It became clear to the WHO that the case reporting system wasn’t working so they devised an alternative by which Africa’s AIDS statistics are now primarily based. Here’s how to works:
On any given morning in an African village mothers line up outside government clinics waiting for routine checkups that include the drawing of blood. Anonymous blood specimens left over from these tests are tested for antibodies to HIV. This ritual usually takes place once a year. The results are fed into a computer model that uses “simple back-calculation procedures” and knowledge of the “well known natural course of HIV infection” to produce statistics for the continent.
In other words AIDS researchers descend on selected clinics, remove the leftover blood samples and screen them for traces of HIV. The results are forwarded to Geneva and fed into a computer program called Epi-Model. If a number of pregnant women are HIV-positive, the formula says then a certain percentage of all adults and children are presumed to be infected too. And if that many people are infected, it follows that a percentage of them must have died. Hence, when UNAIDS announces 14 million Africans have died from AIDS it doesn’t mean 14 million bodies have been counted but rather it means that 14 million people have THEORETICALLY died.
The WHO computer models suggest that AIDS deaths trebled in 3 years from 1996 – 1999. But there was no correlation with the data provided by Statistics South Africa for example. Geneva’s numbers reflected a catastrophe, Pretoria’s did not. The figures we all see in newspapers come from Geneva and yet the WHO takes great pains to label these numbers as estimates only, not rock-solid certainties but we still accept them as truths. Therefore we can begin asking about the figures given in Africa, Asia and South America as well, the only areas where we can almost be certain about infection rates are the West.
What about the mass hysteria in the West? Remember the 80’s and the AIDS virus? The CDC in 1985 stated that 1.5 million Americans were already HIV infected and the disease was rapidly spreading. It was said that 2 -3 million Americans would be HIV positive within the decade. Newsweek’s figures in 1986 stated the figures were twice as high, in the same year Oprah Winfrey told the nation that by 1990, 1 in 5 heterosexuals would be HIV positive. As the hysteria intensified challenging the numbers became career suicide. This was shown when New York city Health Commissioner concluded that the number of infected persons was inaccurate and halved it from 400,000 to 200,000. His office was invaded by protestors and his life threatened.
How many persons are infected in New York? The total number of infected persons in 20 years is 120,000, roughly 6,000 per year. But that’s not what you wanted to hear, is it?
In 1993 Laurie Garrett wrote about the Thailand AIDS epidemic and stated it was moving at “super-sonic speed”. It has stalled to below 2%, and this in a country that is said to have the highest rate of infection in Asia. In 1991 it was said that India was sitting on top on an AIDS volcano yet they have yet to crest 1%. In fact there has been a 50% reduction in HIV/AIDS infections in India over the last decade. The only place where the volcano has exploded so to speak is Africa, where the Geneva computer models have shown infection rates to increase. And it is through using Africa as an example that the Big Boys of the world will cite the dangers of the disease. But why Africa?
Let's take a look at the testing of the virus. If you live in America and you have unprotected sex and wished to have an AIDS test you would have a blood sample drawn and sent to a laboratory where it will be subjected to an ELISA (enzyme-linked-immunosrbent assay) test. The ELISA cannot detect the virus itself only the antibodies that mark its presence. If your blood has these antibodies the test will change colour whereupon the lab tech will repeat the experiment. If the second ELISA lights up he will do a confirmatory test using the more sophisticated Western Blot method. If that confirms the infection the CDC will recommend that the entire process is repeated using a new blood sample to put the outcome beyond all doubt. We are talking about 6 tests all doubly confirmed. Such a protocol is no doubt full proof.
Now when you move from first world to third world the health care standards decline and people are poorer meaning these confirmatory tests become more expensive. In Johannesburg for example a doctor in private practice will typically want three consecutive positive ELISAS before deciding you are HIV positive. But his counterpart in a government sponsored testing centre has to settle for two ELISA tests.
In the annual pregnancy-clinic surveys which I referred to earlier and which South Africa’s terrifying AIDS statistics are based the protocol is one ELISA only, unconfirmed by anything. In America one ELISA means almost nothing. The companies that produce the ELISA tests even confirm that one ELISA test means nothing and that other data needs to be assessed before confirming a positive infection.
A classic example of the complexities of the ELISA test is a test that was run on a group of 184 high-risk subjects in a South African mining camp. 21 of the 184 subjects came up positive on at least one ELISA. But the results were confusing: a locally manufactured test indicated 7, but different people in almost every case. A French test declared 14 were infected.
Something was confounding the tests and the prime suspect was plasmodium falciparum, one of the parasites that causes malaria. Of the 21 subjects who tested positive 16 had recent malaria infections and huge levels of antibody in their veins, the researchers then tried an experiment. They formulated a preparation that absorbed the malaria antibodies, treated the blood samples with it, then retested them. 80% of the HIV infections vanished.
Now consider that another disease rampant in Africa TB (tuberculosis) would also create huge antibodies in veins and couple that with malaria infections you then have a good couple of million people on the continent infected. And should these infected persons take one ELISA test they would statistically be considered HIV/Positive and program these statics into the WHO’s computer model you have statistically an epidemic.
So there you have it – the rates of high infection in African explained in detail!
Does HIV exist? Of course I believe it does. But I also believe that is has become about money just as anything does – if it wasn’t for the “devastation” of this disease, billions of dollars would disappear overnight, and there are a lot of people out there who are benefitting greatly from it being labelled an apocalyptic disease!
In conclusion let me share with you a saying we had while I worked in West Africa: “No Glove, No Love”. It's simple – bareback if you want, you are an adult and know the risks but rather just glove up. It means if your balls itch you won’t worry, it means when you get flu you will know it’s just flu and it will mean if you get a phone call from the girl you just came inside of you won’t worry that she’s pregnant.
And if you don’t have a condom, say goodnight to the lovely lady and rather have a wank. The end result is the same and it involves you – the only person who won't lie and tell you that you are “handsome man”!