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01 December 1997

A Question for World Aids Day

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, co-author of 'The Truth About the Aids Panic', poses a question for World Aids Day

There is a growing consensus that the failure of the AIDS epidemic in Britain to follow the doomsday projections of a decade ago can be attributed to the success of the campaign for 'safe sex'. This campaign has been promoted by the AIDS establishment with massive backing from the government, the media, medical, educational and other institutions.

It is indeed striking that the spread of HIV among heterosexuals in Britain - the major focus of safe sex propaganda - has been negligible. A recent official survey of sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers in England and Wales came to the following conclusion:

'The low levels of HIV infection among heterosexual teenagers attending genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics and teenage girls having antenatal care are consistent with there having been no substantial heterosexual transmission of HIV to teenagers in England and Wales.'

N Connor et al, Communicable Disease Report, 14 November 1997.

Following the principle that any news that might contradict the doomsday scenario and undermine its moral impact should be ignored, the mainstream media passed over this remarkable and reassuring discovery concerning the sexual health of the nation's youth. The press did however pick up on another feature of the report: the apparently increasing incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases - gonorrhoea, herpes, chlamydia, warts - in this age group. The authors note that 'high levels of other STDs indicate continuing behavioural vulnerability' to HIV.

Now this is interesting: it appears that 'no substantial heterosexual transmission' of HIV to teenagers has taken place over the past decade even though the incidence of other STDs has risen, suggesting an increased scale of unprotected - 'unsafe' - sexual activity. Indeed, as one authority on herpes admitted at the weekend, 'the evidence that people have changed their sexual behaviour isn't that great' (Independent on Sunday, 30 November). In fact, population studies of herpes infection would tend to suggest an increase in unsafe sex over the period of the great AIDS scare.

So here's the question: if the safe sex campaign has not changed sexual behaviour then how can it claim the credit for curbing the spread of HIV?

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