HIV discriminates. It is a racist and a bigot.

Do you remember those well-meaning please that HIV does not discriminate, that AIDS is not racist, and so on.

I wonder how many people untruths like that killed

Genetic Trait Boosts AIDS Risks in Blacks – US News and World Report
WEDNESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests that people of African descent are much more likely to have a genetic trait that makes them more susceptible to infection with the HIV virus.

Scientists estimate that the trait — which also provides protection against a form of malaria — might account for 11 percent of the HIV cases in Africa, the continent hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic.

Overall, the finding shows how the past history of evolution and disease still affects people today, said study co-author Matthew J. Dolan, of the Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center and San Antonio Military Medical Center. “The benefit that the Africans got from a mutation that gave them some resistance to malaria has, statistically at least, rendered them some increased susceptibility to HIV,” he said.

The attack by on scientists by ideologues is old. From Trofim Lysenko to Richard Lewontin to many AIDS and education activists, the only acceptable scientific knowledge is what they wish it to be.

Too bad.

4 thoughts on “HIV discriminates. It is a racist and a bigot.”

  1. Actually, this could be a useful idea to the so-called “ideologues”: it’s one (perhaps rare, in my view) instance where a genetic explanation is far less racist than a behavioral explanation. The genetic explanation means that the prevalence of AIDS among African Americans doesn’t have to be the result of behavioral differences. Sadly, though, the government did little for AIDS research when it was considered a gay man’s disease and is doing little now that it’s less prevalent among Caucasians.

  2. “I wonder how many people untruths like that killed”

    Depends on whether better theories are around. In the case of HIV, the theory of equal genetic susceptibility was better than calling it (like fl pointed out) a gay man’s disease so long as we didn’t know better. If people refuse to use this new data for fear of political incorrectness, then people will die for an untruth.

    Personally, I’m wondering how long before the conspiracy theorists use this as ‘proof’ that HIV was engineered to kill black people.

  3. fl,

    Actually, this could be a useful idea to the so-called “ideologues”: it’s one (perhaps rare, in my view) instance where a genetic explanation is far less racist than a behavioral explanation.

    No reason to think that both are not true. 11% of the variation in African AIDS is due to this gene, which almost never present in Europeans. However, the AIDS rate in Africa is much higher than the AIDS rate in America.

    More from Scientific Blogging [1] and gnxp [2].

    [1] http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/are_africans_genetically_predisposed_to_hiv
    [2] http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/07/evolution_a_reason_for_the_afr.php

  4. Michael,

    If people refuse to use this new data for fear of political incorrectness, then people will die for an untruth.

    Well said.

    Personally, I’m wondering how long before the conspiracy theorists use this as ‘proof’ that HIV was engineered to kill black people.

    For the people that Obama hangs out with (as of this spring, at least [1]), that boat sailed long ago.

    Some more info on is available from p-ter at gnxp [2].

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/05/31/profiles-in-courage.html
    [2] http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/07/darc-and-hiv-false-positive-due-to.php

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