Biological Class Warfare.

There’s a sudden effusion of smelly stuff, as if a boil had burst. The smelly stuff is the well-funded insistence by overpromoted “independent” researchers that AIDS is not a disease of poverty. This derives from the “research” of a registrar at UCT named Kenyon, and a Pro-Vice-Chancellor at UKZN named Karim.
The countries which suffer most from AIDS on the planet are poor countries. The most AIDS-ridden continent, Africa, is also the poorest continent; the second most AIDS-ridden continent, Asia, is the second poorest continent. Meanwhile, the two richest continents, North America and Europe, have extraordinarily low levels of AIDS. In Africa, AIDS is spreading most where the poorest people live. This is conspicuous in South Africa, of course, where the poorest racial group (Africans) suffers an order of magnitude more AIDS than any other. The poorest parts of the country — the rural areas — are especially heavily hit despite the lack of transport and communications in those areas.
So the evidence contradicts the “research”. However, when medical research contradicts the obvious, perhaps they know something the rest of us don’t. What does physiology tell us?
In all diseases, the poor are the most vulnerable. They eat less healthily than the rich, on average. (Of course some rich people wreck their livers with booze or their psyches with crack, and these people are vulnerable to disease.) In addition the rich have greater access to medical care, meaning that their immune systems have to work less hard (except when the medical care damages their immune systems, as it sometimes does). Rich people are psychologically healthier because their lives are more secure than those of poor people, which makes their bodies less vulnerable to threats. Therefore, what K and K are telling us is that HIV and AIDS are completely different from every other disease — AIDS is completely decoupled from the physiological state of the people involved.
Admittedly, there are factors which confuse the issue. When poor people get AIDS, they tend to die. Antiretrovirals can sometimes keep them alive for a while, but without adequate medical treatment, without proper food, without safety, they die. When rich people get AIDS, they tend to live. Antiretrovirals are most effective for people who have something to live for (exactly like cancer therapy). What this means is that people who develop AIDS will live longer if they are rich than if they are poor. But then this means that there will be proportionally more rich people with AIDS, as compared with rich people who are HIV+, than poor people with AIDS as compared with poor people who are HIV+. Any serious observer who wanted to compare the infection rates of rich versus poor people would have to account for this.
Furthermore, rich people are less afraid of AIDS and more prepared to talk about it, because they think that it isn’t a problem. If you believe the TAC’s propaganda, nobody who takes antiretrovirals ever suffers or dies. Rich people are much more likely to believe such propaganda than poor people, because their experience has been that they can buy themselves out of any crisis. Hence, rich people are more likely to acknowledge their status, at least anonymously, whereas poor people are more likely to be in denial about it.
However, in most of South Africa, but even more so everywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa, there is very little knowledge of either AIDS or HIV status. There is very little testing, and what testing happens is not reliably passed on to authorities. In other words, it is likely that there is drastic undercounting, particularly in the poorest areas, the rural areas, and the poorest countries. The UNAIDS statistics appear to exist independently of this problem — they are presented as if every country had completely accurate status testing. This is plainly nonsense, although it is possible that the UNAIDS statistics are more accurate than their provenance justifies. (That is, the desire by AIDS activists to exaggerate the facts compensates for the lack of accurate facts.) But therefore, a close analysis based on medical statistics probably leads to a gross overcounting of urban and affluent HIV+ and AIDS status and a gross undercounting of rural and poor status.
Now, neither of the Ks have taken account of these matters. Their work is thus worthless. The term “AIDS denialist” is already taken, so what should we call the Ks? Perhaps we should simply call bullshit and be done with it. However, why should medical researchers wish to bullshit about the idea that poor people are more liable to suffer from AIDS (or any other disease) than rich people?
To answer this question it is worth going back to 2000, when President Mbeki addressed the Durban Conference on HIV/AIDS and told them that the real problem was poverty which fostered AIDS. He was roundly denounced by everybody for saying something which was blindingly obvious to everybody who looked at the structure of the AIDS epidemic. Hence, as far back as 2000, the people supposedly most concerned with the disease were pretending that it had nothing to do with poverty.
Equally interesting is that Zackie Achmat, who had previously been a Trotskyite (and therefore ought to know something about poverty) said the same thing. What people need, he said, following the TAC line, is not food, not health care, but drugs. Hence the campaign against the National Association of People Living With AIDS, which argued that perhaps HIV+ people should eat more and better. Hence the campaign against Health Minister MaNtombazana Tshabalala-Msimang, whose call for HIV+ people to eat the food which most nutritionists recommend for buttressing the immune system (garlic, olive oil and lemon — delicious!) was denounced, ridiculed and condemned by people who knew nothing about either nutrition or the immune system — but what was interesting was that the nutritionists who were recommending the food were all keeping silent about the Health Minister.
A line developed in which it was impossible to talk about feeding people with AIDS. (One could argue that the dodgy Matthias Raath, who advised people to take his vitamin supplements instead of antiretrovirals, was a justification for this — but Raath’s misbehaviour was in arguing against antiretrovirals; there was actually no reason for HIV+ people not to take his innocuous pills.)
One reason for such extremism might have been scepticism about Mbeki’s agenda. Had Achmat been an honest Trotskyite, he would have asked why Mbeki wasn’t doing anything for the poor, whom he claimed to be supporting. Then he’d have had to eat a slice of humble pie when, along with free antiretrovirals, came the social grants system for subsidising people who are HIV+. It’s not clear how much good these have done for the disease (though they are very important for wealth redistribution, albeit this is ignored by most leftists). However, that’s not because food is irrelevant to the disease — it’s because there is almost no research into the efficacy of any South African AIDS treatment or prevention strategies. The research, instead, is going either towards cures which obviously don’t work, or towards politically-motivated projects like that of the Ks.
For this is the point: healthy HIV+ people can probably stave off AIDS for a while through eating well. Sick HIV+ people need proper medical care (and good food) in order to take full advantage of antiretrovirals. But mass nutrition programmes are expensive, and so is improving South Africa’s broken public health-care system. It takes money away from buying drugs. People like the Ks and Mark Heywood of the TAC (now on the National AIDS Council, where he is probably doing as much good as Dr. Duesberg did on the Presidential AIDS panel) are only concerned with the scale of drug purchase. The TAC actively campaigns against both food and health care, for these get in the way of buying drugs (and if one suspects that the real agenda is drug-company profits, well, who’d be really surprised?).
If you are rich, you can afford to eat well. If you are rich, you can afford good health-care because you can go private. Poor people and rich people get the same triple therapy, but they don’t get it in the same context. Therefore, to campaign against feeding HIV+ people, and to campaign against giving them better health-care than the odd handful of pills flung at them by a slovenly nurse, is to campaign for a massive class divide between the treatment of rich and poor. It is a form of class warfare.
Also, if your chief agenda is buying drugs, obviously you are going to deny that anything except drugs is important. It is then natural to accuse anybody who wants to feed people or look after them better, of irrational hatred of drugs. One begins to see why the “AIDS denialist” trope has survived more than five years after the antiretroviral programme began, and more than a year after President Mbeki was railroaded out of office. It’s not just about distracting public attention from the criminal incompetence of the Zuma regime, although that is important. It’s also about preventing people from treating AIDS like a normal disease, instead of a mysterious curse to be lifted through the magical intervention of AZT (or, preferably, something even more expensive), like the opposite of Kryptonite.
This is where the bullshit comes in, and to defend the bullshit freedom of speech and thought and suchlike matters have to go. Such totalitarianism cannot be restrained to only one area, so while the AIDS propagandists are themselves only concerned with doing the bidding of their corporate handlers, they are (no doubt inadvertently) poisoning the whole of our society. (Whatever Kenyon’s politics are, a Pro-Vice-Chancellor at UKZN is necessarily a tyrannical sleazeoid, since he is necessarily doing the bidding of the reactionary enemy of the people, William Makgoba.) But you won’t read about any of this stuff in the papers or see it on TV, so that isn’t considered a problem. “Who controls the future controls the present, who controls the present, controls the past.” Viva Big Brother!


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