EDITOR'S DESK by
Fumento Updates Myth of Heterosexual AIDS
New York Post declined to publish
this letter I submitted:
Michael Fumento, author of The Myth of Heterosexual
AIDS , correctly stated in a published June 1 letter to the
New York Post [also published as Commentary "AIDS
Data vs. Hyperbole" in the June 8 Washington Times
] that the true HIV and AIDS risks for drug-free heterosexual Americans
fail to justify the hysterical shrieks of "everyone's at risk"
issued by our public health officials. Fumento used the recently
published 1998 CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Year-end Report to show
that for yet another year new AIDS cases dropped for all groups,
including injection drug-free heterosexuals (of all races and both
sexes), and that the number of annual new AIDS cases among this
group remains insignificantly tiny, about 9,000 for 1998. For these
reasons Fumento argued that AIDS fails to qualify as an urgent public
health crisis deserving of the five billion annual tax dollars afforded
Rebuttals published June 6 from two beneficiaries
of those tax dollars lambasted Fumento for understating the need
to regard HIV/AIDS as a national crisis. Both authors, physician
Joshua Lipsman of New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis and Patricia
Carter of the Harvard AIDS Institute, claimed, for one thing, that
the decrease in new AIDS cases resulted from effective new "anti-HIV"
drugs produced by the very same public financing decried by Fumento.
Were it not for that huge wonder-drug-producing budget, Lipsman
and Carter argue, AIDS would indeed rampage through the land.
But according to the CDC reports, the number of
new annual AIDS cases began dropping in 1993, and quarterly AIDS
deaths started dropping in 1995, before the December 1995 introduction
of the new drugs.
Fumento's detractors also pointed out that while
new American AIDS cases are declining, instances of infection with
HIV -- the presumed cause of AIDS -- are not declining. While it
is true that the number of "HIV-positive" Americans remains
constant, it has always remained constant, and -- among
Americans who deny homosexuality, narcotics injecting, and medicinal-blood
exposure -- tiny, at just one per 7,500. When in 1985 the CDC issued
its original estimation of one million "HIV-positive"
Americans, the agency predicted that figure would quickly rise exponentially,
and many millions of Americans would qualify for "HIV-positive"
status by 2000. Well, the only change to the annual CDC estimation
of "HIV-positive" Americans was a lowering -- to 800,000
-- in 1995.
Carter chided Fumento for "terribly flawed
knowledge of epidemiology." If Carter understood epidemiology,
she would know that, according to Farr's law, constant and low prevalence
means no epidemic and that the microbe is an old resident.