Tens of millions dead missing!
Nite Owl, B Trink BKP 000612
Often in personal e-mail, periodically in the Bangkok Post Postbag,
sundry readers take me to task for my stance on the dreaded disease.
Their jibes take the form of derisively asking why when everybody knows
that it is killing tens of millions, I continue to maintain that it is
not an epidemic, much less a pandemic. Is it because I don't see the
bodies I step over, or because when all the demimondaines are afflicted
and die, I won't have anything to write about?
What these right-minded (their description of themselves, not mine)
men and women overlook is that there's an ongoing controversy re the
HIV-Aids connection. There are Nobel laureates, scientists, doctors,
researchers on both sides. Terms like charlatans, quacks, opportunists,
are frequently hurled at those you disagree with and are uncalled for.
To be branded "criminally irresponsible" is especially unfair
Both sides send me written material supporting their views that HIV
is the Aids virus (the majority), that it isn't (the minority). Though a
layman I've read books, papers, lectures, studies, newspaper and
magazine articles, letters from medics voicing contrary views. A good
deal of it is comprehensible, yet neither is above pulling a fast one,
like pretending that the conclusion follows from the premises when it
When weighing both sides, why did I opt to side with the minority? I
am not a perverse person. I don't take up an unpopular cause to make a
name for myself. I feel that the minority better answers key questions
than the majority. Sixteen years after the dreaded disease became a name
to reckon with in the Realm, it has yet to run rampant in the nitery
Told that the transition from HIV to Aids is slow but inexorable, we
were assured that death was certain in four years. When it didn't
happen, in eight years. Then 12 years. Every Thai male between eight and
80 would meet his maker by the year 2000. Alas, no. Twenty years, 30,
40? Certainly people pass away daily for any number of causes, but the
scourge is behind the curtain a-waiting its cue.
The weakest claim of the majority lies (pun intended) in its use of
numbers. WHO accepts the figures given it by the respective countries,
but consider that Thailand's for one are unreliable. No field surveys
are conducted. In the decennial census, the population of the capital is
only a guess; six million, seven, eight, nine, 10? One is as good as
another. How many Aids victims in the Kingdom is also a mystery.
What is the CDC (the Centre for Disease Control) in Atlanta playing
at, I wonder? It has listed 30 diseases, many common, which if you die
of it and HIV is found present, Aids is written on the death
certificate. Among them are malaria, TB and cervical cancer. That's a
bit much, don't you think?
Name publications and commentators declare that Africa is being
ravaged by Aids. But are you aware of the Bangui definition of Aids in
Africa? No HIV test is needed: Prolonged fevers (for a month or more),
weight loss of 10% or greater, and prolonged diarrhoea. Which means that
many traditional African diseases, pandemic in poverty-stricken areas
with tropical climate, open latrines, and contaminated drinking water,
are now called Aids.
According to Tom Bethell's article in the April 2000 The American
Spectator, "Inventing An Epidemic", apart from Africa, Aids
remains confined to the major risk groups _ mainly intravenous drug
users and gays taking recreational drugs. And it takes circa 1,000
sexual contacts to transmit HIV heterosexually.