The Writing is on the Wall for UNAIDS

by Liam Scheff
May 26th, 2008 —

The mainstream medical community is beginning to understand the limits of the Aids venture into Africa. Persons who are serious about improving the lives of the poorest in the world are thinking twice about the monies spent on the Aids campaign.

There is a call for the permanent disbanding of the United Nations Aids division, in order to re-focus efforts on the myriad of problems that plague Africans: Lack of food, water, work, safety, and basic medical care for malaria, tuberculosis, and dysentery.

The writing is on the wall for UNAIDS

By Roger England, chairman, Health Systems Workshop, Grenada
The British Medical Journal

HIV exceptionalism is dead—and the writing is on the wall for UNAIDS. Why a UN agency for HIV and not for pneumonia or diabetes, which both kill more people? [….]

UNAIDS should be closed down rapidly, not because it has performed badly given its mandate, which it has not, but because its mandate is wrong and harmful. Its technical functions should be refitted into WHO, to be balanced with those for other diseases.

Putting HIV in its place among other priorities will be resisted strongly. The global HIV industry is too big and out of control. We have created a monster with too many vested interests and reputations at stake, too many single issue NGOs (in Mozambique, 100 NGOs are devoted to HIV for every one concerned with maternal and child health),14 too many relatively well paid HIV staff in affected countries, and too many rock stars with AIDS support as a fashion accessory.

The mainstream has known for years that the idea of a sex plague in Africa was not supported by evidence, (from The International Journal of STD and AIDS, 2003):

“The conventional wisdom that heterosexual transmission accounts for most adult HIV infections in Africa emerged as a consensus among influential HIV/AIDS experts no later than 1988.

In that year, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Program on AIDS circulated estimates that 80 percent of HIV infections in Africa was due to heterosexual transmission…”

First, it was in the interests of AIDS researchers in developed countries – where HIV seemed stubbornly confined to MSMs, IDUs, and their partners – to present AIDS in Africa as a heterosexual epidemic

“Second, there may have been an inclination to emphasize sexual transmission as an argument for condom promotion, coinciding with pre-existing programmes and efforts to curb Africa’s rapid population growth.”

“Third, ‘the role of sexual promiscuity in the spread of AIDs in Africa appears to have evolved in part out of prior assumptions about the sexuality of Africans

(Gisselquist D et al. “Let it be sexual: how health care transmission of AIDS in Africa was ignored.” Int J STD AIDS. 2003;14:148 161).

Moreover, AIDS in Africa was always a different phenomenon than AIDS in America. The Aids definition for Africa was always based on commonly occurring clinical conditions.

In 1985, the World Health Organization called a meeting in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, to define African AIDS. The meeting was presided over by CDC official Joseph McCormick. He wrote about in his book “Level 4 Virus hunters of the CDC,” saying:

“If I could get everyone at the WHO meeting in Bangui to agree on a single, simple definition of what an AIDS case was in Africa, then, imperfect as the definition might be, we could actually start counting the cases…”

The results – African AIDS would be defined by physical symptoms: fever, diarrhea, weight loss and coughing or itching. (“AIDS in Africa: an epidemiological paradigm.” Science, 1986)

Those in the mainstream who are serious about improving the actual living conditions and future of Africans, are now turning away from the chronic red-ribbon campaign. The Aids ribbon, and Product (Red) campaigns, among others, which focus attention on intervening in the reproductive lives of Africans, have been made chic by celebrity endorsement, and are linked artificially to the idea of gay and African rights.

After the hundred million dollar failures of AIDS vaccine and microbicide campaigns, a call is emerging for a vast re-organization of efforts to assist in the lives of Africans, by attending to their daily needs – basic resources like food and water, and basic medical care for TB, malaria and dysentery.


One question remains
– is Roger England (along with David Gisselquist, and anybody else with a mind of their own), now a “denialist?”

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Addendum:

UNAIDS myths on AIDS pandemic costing billions – new report
May 20, 2008

UNAIDS – the UN’s specialist AIDS advocacy body – has systematically misrepresented the true nature of the AIDS pandemic, resulting in billions of dollars of wasted spending, according to a new report from the Campaign for Fighting Diseases.

According to report author Professor James Chin, UNAIDS has exaggerated the size and trend of the AIDS pandemic, and has over-hyped the potential for HIV in ‘general’ heterosexual populations outside of sub Saharan Africa.

Prof Chin was the epidemiologist who helped the World Health Organization design global AIDS surveillance methods in the 1980s, and is one of the world’s leading experts on the pandemic.

His report accuses UNAIDS of misleading the public by promoting the myth that everyone in the world is at risk from the pandemic. Outside of sub-Saharan Africa, extensive HIV transmission in heterosexual populations has not occurred, except in large commercial sex networks.

As a result this advocacy, some $5bn have been wasted since 2003 on providing prevention programmes for populations at almost no risk of HIV, such as school children and youth outside of sub-Saharan Africa. This figure now stands at $1bn per year and increasing.

These sums could be more usefully spent on targeting prevention programmes at those most at risk of HIV, including injecting drug users, gay men, and sex workers; or on trying to prevent the annual four million child deaths from easily preventable diseases such as measles.

Prof Chin stated: “UNAIDS is apparently concerned that support to AIDS programs might be reduced if HIV remains concentrated in the highest HIV-risk populations. UNAIDS continues to perpetuate the myth of “generalized” HIV epidemics to keep AIDS high on the political agenda, but it is resulting in billions of dollars of misdirected spending.”

The full report [HERE]

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