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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
  • 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
'There is no good evidence that AIDS is likely to spread rapidly in the West among heterosexuals.' The Truth about the AIDS Panic, 1987

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 behaviour.

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 there.

The Week, 26 July to 1 August 1996, Central London

Courses include:
  • 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 lm@informinc.co.uk.

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