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Vindication from the Washington Post

I was intrigued to see the front-page, above-the-fold headline in the Washington Post  on Thursday, April 6: “How AIDS in Africa Was Overstated.” The paper concedes that reliance on data from pre-natal clinics had skewed the data in several countries. Pregnancy happens to be one of the conditions that generates a “false positive” reading on the HIV test.

Back in 2000, the Washington Post was one of the main sources of hype about AIDS in Africa. The wildly exaggerated claims promoted by the mainstream media created an atmosphere of crisis. Guided by UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Albright, the Clinton Administration took the issue of impending population collapse to the UN Security Council. African countries weren’t going to be able to field armies or defend themselves because so many young men would soon be on their death beds.   In response, sub-Saharan Africa was flooded with condoms to check the spread of the virus that was supposedly now being transmitted heterosexually (proving that it wasn’t a gay plague after all).

It all turned out to be a bag of media hype, resting on the official manipulation of medical science.

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The Washington Post story says nothing about the latest estimates of the population of sub-Saharan Africa.  It’s worth noting, then, that the continent has grown by 300 million people—equal to the population of the United States—in the 20 year period since the African AIDS “crisis” was launched.

There’s something else that the Washington Post does not disclose. As far as I know, the paper has never reported it.  In 1985, AIDS was redefined in Africa so that no HIV test was needed in order to diagnose the disease. (In the U.S. a positive HIV test is the essential and defining condition of the disease.) After AIDS was redefined, in a low-profile 1985 meeting convened by CDC and WHO officials in the Central African Republic, the criteria for diagnosis became so relaxed that almost anyone in an African hospital qualified as an AIDS patient. Old diseases, pandemic in Africa, were redefined as AIDS.

At that point, the aid money began to flow. Americans, who don’t as a rule look kindly on foreign aid, had a change of heart when they heard that this “dreaded disease” was rampaging through the continent of Africa. President Bush joined the bandwagon, and in 2001 persuaded Congress to pony up $15 billion to help fight AIDS in the Third World.  In retrospect, the whole exercise was a sly way of pumping up the foreign aid budget.

Read all about it in my book the “Politically Incorrect Guide to Science” (published by Regnery, a sister company to HUMAN EVENTS). It has a full chapter on AIDS in Africa and the medical manipulations by which a political goal was achieved under the cover of science.

Written By

Mr. Bethell, a senior editor at the American Spectator, is author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science," published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company and "The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages."

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