7 July 1996
Why they lied to you about AIDS
This following is the text of a leaflet distributed by Living Marxism at
Pride 1996 in London
Come to THE WEEK and find out why they lied to you about AIDS
'There is no good evidence that AIDS is likely to spread rapidly in the
West among heterosexuals.' The Truth about the AIDS Panic, 1987
- In 1987 we told you that the heterosexual AIDS epidemic was a myth
- In 1996 AIDS campaigners admitted that they had made it all up
- It's time to stop playing the victim and start telling the truth
That was written by Living Marxism writers Dr Michael Fitzpatrick and Don
Milligan in 1987, at the beginning of the official scare campaign surrounding
AIDS. A decade later the number of heterosexuals who have developed AIDS
in the UK without any known contact with high-risk groups is just 161. Living
Marxism has argued from the start that the heterosexual AIDS epidemic was
a myth. The AIDS campaign was not a response to the real health problem
faced by gay men, but a moral crusade intended to terrify the entire population
about the dangers of sex. In 1987 Fitzpatrick and Milligan were condemned
as irresponsible for arguing that the government's safe sex propaganda was
a dangerous lie. But they were right.
In June this year Jamie Taylor of Gay Men Fighting AIDS blew the whistle
on the AIDS establishment, telling a Radio 4 interviewer that the heterosexual
epidemic was a pretence all along. Gay leaders were unwilling to fight the
right-wing backlash against the so-called 'gay plague'. Instead they decided
to hype up the threat of AIDS to 'Middle England'. AIDS campaigners hoped
that pretending that AIDS was a danger to everyone would take the heat off
gay men. At the same time they hoped that the threat of heterosexual AIDS
would convince the government to provide the resources needed to deal with
the real epidemic among gay men.
Did their strategy work? The short answer is no.
The Conservative government's response was to say thanks very much for a
good idea. The authorities adroitly seized the opportunity to lie to the
people about a largely fictitious risk to their health and to educate every
child in the country in a new code of sexual regulation - safer sex. Where
traditional morality promised eternal damnation for the promiscuous, the
politically correct version popularised by AIDS-awareness claims a terrible,
slow death to be the punishment for a relaxed attitude to sex. Worse, the
lesbian and gay movement has provided moral authority for this subtle and
effective intervention into people's private lives - when previously it
had, rightly, led the resistance against state regulation of our sexual
The results for gay men have been disastrous. The 1.5 billion pounds spent
on the official AIDS prevention campaign has had little effect on the course
of the epidemic since it has been targeted at people who were not at risk.
Meanwhile the disease continues to take its toll among gay men. Worse still,
is the transformation in the public image of the lesbian and gay movement
brought about by the AIDS strategy. Once seen as bold and dangerous dissenters
from the repressive moral order of the past, gay men in particular are being
transformed into some of society's favourite victims, to be patronised by
every establishment bleeding heart from Tom Hanks to Saint Diana.
Indulging in lies, scaremongering, playing the victim, begging the great
and the good for sympathy and protection - this is no way to solve our problems.
It can only diminish our freedom of action and hand power over to the authorities.
AIDS-awareness pioneered the cult of risk-awareness that now dominates society.
From BSE to Dunblane, public discussion is dominated by anxiety about, and
demands for protection from, dangers every bit as improbable as a heterosexual
AIDS epidemic. In this climate Living Marxism writers are every bit as committed
to telling the truth in 1996 as we were in 1987.
The Week conference, hosted by Living Marxism, is dedicated to tackling
the culture of victimhood and 'safety first' and to developing a political
agenda for real freedom. If you want to be a decade ahead of the game, be
The Week, 26 July to 1 August 1996, Central London
- Victim culture
- Social control in an uncertain age
- Policing the family
- Rights and the state
- Gender, culture and relativism
Tickets UKP75 waged, UKP40 students and unwaged, UKP22 school and FE students
For more information phone Jan Montague on (0171) 278 9908, or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join a discussion on this commentary