A quarter of a century after the outbreak of AIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared.
In the first official admission that the universal prevention strategy promoted by the major Aids organizations may have been misdirected, Kevin de Cock, the head of the WHO’s department of HIV/AIDS said there will be no generalized epidemic of AIDS in the heterosexual population outside Africa.
Dr. de Cock, an epidemiologist who has spent much of his career leading the battle against the disease, said understanding of the threat posed by the virus had changed. Whereas once it was seen as a risk to populations everywhere, it was now recognized that, outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients.
There was never very much evidence of the threat of AIDS to low-risk, heterosexual populations — a threat which was nevertheless widely hyped to drum up massive research and public education funding for a disease whose risk has always been extremely low in heterosexuals who did not use IV drugs or visit prostitutes.
While medical treatment of AIDS has advanced greatly — mostly through the breakthrough of protease inhibitor therapy (enormously expensive drugs with a host of serious side effects) — prevention efforts designed to change high-risk behavior have failed dismally. No surprise there — you can’t cure addictions — sexual, drug, or otherwise — with education.
But, hey, our schools taught several generations of kids to use condoms rather than study math, so it was worth it, no?
And Dr. de Cock?? Sometimes life is funnier than fiction …