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More stupid “science” from a politician

More stupid “science” from a politician

Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) falsely claimed on Thursday that it was nearly impossible for someone to contract AIDS through heterosexual contact.

The Raw Story reports:

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community,” he told Michelangelo Signorile, who hosts a radio program on SiriusXM OutQ. “It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”

“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.”

It is generally accepted that at some point HIV crossed species from chimps to humans, but there is no evidence that this was caused by bestiality. Rick Sowadsky of the Nevada State Health Division AIDS program noted in 1998 that it highly unlikely that HIV was transmitted through inter-species sexual contact, given the behavior of chimps and the differences between the sexual anatomy of humans and other primates.

According to the the Center for Disease Control, male-to-male sexual contact has been the most common way to transmit AIDS, followed by injection drug use and heterosexual sex.

A quick check via Google finds this: an introduction to the HIV/AIDS epidemic on avert.org, where we learn:

Statistics for the end of 2010 indicate that around 34 million people are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Each year around 2.7 million more people become infected with HIV and 1.8 million die of AIDS.1

Although HIV and AIDS are found in all parts of the world, some areas are more afflicted than others. The worst affected region is sub-Saharan Africa, where in a few countries more than one in five adults is infected with HIV. The epidemic is spreading most rapidly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the number of people living with HIV increased by 250% between 2001 and 2010.2

AIDS is caused by HIV, a virus that can be passed from person to person through sexual fluids, blood and breast milk. Worldwide the majority of HIV infections are transmitted through sex between men and women, and half of all adults living with HIV are women.3 But certain groups of people have been particularly affected and these include injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men. In many people’s minds, HIV and AIDS are closely linked with these groups, which can lead to even greater stigma and prejudice against people already treated as outsiders.

Many Western countries, such as the UK, have increasing rates of HIV transmission through heterosexual sex. In America, where more than a million people are living with HIV, heterosexual sex accounts for one third of new diagnoses.4

As a sexually transmitted disease, AIDS particularly affects adolescents and young adults. Three thousand new infections occur among young people aged between 15-24 every day and people in this age group account for more than a third of all new HIV infections.5 Deaths of young adults have an especially damaging impact on their families and communities: skills are lost, workforces shrink and children are orphaned. In some African countries, life expectancies have fallen below 40 years, whereas they would have been above 60 without AIDS. There are around 16.6 million children who have lost a parent to AIDS.6

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Bill Dilworth

Apology accepted, Larry.

I do think the intersection of personal responsibility and moral guilt is interesting. It's very hard in our society to say that we can take responsibility for actions that expose us to the threat of danger without it being heard as if we were saying the fulfillment of the threat were justified, or in the case of criminal acts that the victim is as much or more to blame than the perpetrator. Of course, sometimes people mean that very thing, but I worry that the result might be to make people less careful.

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Roger Mortimer

Irony (that, among other things, which separates us from conservative Tennessee politicians) not permitted then, Andrew? Po-faced seriousness only?

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Larry Shell

My apologies to you both. I singled you out to comment and then spoke more to the thread in general. And in any case I wasn't trying to attack anyone. It's hard to dialogue in this format. I'm sorry if I offended.

Larry Shell

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David Allen

Larry, you must be illiterate. I have no idea what you are on about. There is nothing in either of my comments that support the nonsense you attribute to me.

BTW, a virus is the cause of HIV infection. Sex is one of the modes of transmission of that virus.

Bro David

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Bill Dilworth

Larry, you really are reading too much into my comments. I didn't say a mumbling word about promiscuity, or about sex causing AIDs - much less blame anyone for having the disease.

What I said was that there are decisions we can make that significantly lower our risk of exposure to HIV. The specific decisions I had in mind were adopting safer sex practices. There is evidence that men "on the down low" practice safer sex at a lower rate than men who only have sex with men, for a variety of reasons.

Your inference that I was talking about the morality of promiscuous sex was just that - your inference. Believe me, I have far too much of a checkered past (hell, back in the 70s it was positively houndstooth) to preach about promiscuity at this late date.

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