aids-in-southafrica-grafiti

HIV/Aids in South Africa

by / Comments Off / 957 View / 25th November 2014

The book  ‘HIV/AIDS in South Africa’  by Chris Jennings was awarded the 2014 Will Solimene Awards for Excellence in Medical Communication.  The Solimene Award recognizes outstanding work in medical, biomedical, andhealth communication published during the previous two years.

“The book provides interesting insights into the myths and realities of the origin and the scale of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Laurie LaRusso of the AMWA, “his discussion surrounding the origins of the disease is controversial, yet quite plausible.”

‘HIV/AIDS in South Africa’ is based on a sober, forensic review of 3,000 scientific and medical journal articles which belie the accounts of HIV/AIDS prevalence and deaths in Africa.It is the scientific story of AIDS over a 30-year period, challenging commonly-held assumptions about the development and spread of this disease.

The subject of AIDS rates has been in the news again with the release of a study in the British medical journal, The Lancet, downsizing previously-calculated AIDS infection rates in Africa and other developing countries [1].

“The good news is fewer people across Africa have HIV than previously estimated; the bad news is policy hasn’t reacted and money is being massively misspent,” said Jennings, “moreover, even given the estimated 20% reduction offered by The Lancet, the global AIDS statistics remain vastly over inflated.”

In a letter to the Editor of The Lancet, Jennings wrote the following rebuttal: “It has been obvious for quite some time that the global HIV/AIDS projections were flawed and such incremental corrections are entirely inadequate. The purported HIV prevalence rates in some adult African populations exceed all plausible limits of human sexual activity (e.g., 23% in Botswana [2]).

At the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, highly sexually active men who have sex with men in New York City averaged 40 sexual partners a year [3]. Given that HIV transmission during unprotected anal intercourse is 5 to 20 times more efficient that of vaginal intercourse

(i.e., risk to the receptive partner) [4, 5], then the members of a corresponding heterosexual population would require approximately 200 to 800 sexual partners a year to achieve a similar rate of infection. Yet, NYC has an AIDS prevalence of approximately 0.4% (that is, including the cumulative total of all AIDS cases living and dead from 1981 to 2008) [6]. Therefore, for Botswanan heterosexual males to achieve a prevalence of 23%, they would require approximately 11,500 to 46,000 sexual partners per year and the females 1.1 to 3.3 times as many [4, 5], given the different rates of transmission between the sexes.

The beliefs regarding the global HIV/AIDS epidemic have been based on habitual assumptions of promiscuity and bad science unduly amplified by constant repetition. When will we see a change?”

As summarized by Anna Rabin, an East Africa Analyst in Think Africa Press:“Jennings provides an interesting and well-presented statistical summary that will leave readers questioning the validity of internationally-approved estimates.

‘HV/AIDS in South Africa – The Facts and the Fiction’ is the smaller sister book to ‘HIV/AIDS – The Facts and the Fiction,’ the larger primary book.  The primary book deconstructs the many of the overarching mythologies surrounding HIV/AIDS and the HIV/AIDS epidemic that laid the ground for belief in the implausible concepts of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Third World.

*References:*

 

[1] Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.  Lancet. 2014 Jul 21
[2]  http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-botswana.htm

 

[3] Szmuness W, Much I, Prince AM, et al. On the role of sexual behavior in the spread of hepatitis B infection. Ann Intern Med. Oct1975;83(4):489-495.
[4] Pinkerton SD, Martin JN, Roland ME, Katz MH, Coates TJ, Kahn JO. Cost-effectiveness of postexposure prophylaxis after sexual or injection-drug exposure to human immunodeficiency virus. Arch Intern Med. Jan 12 2004;164(1):46-54.
[5] Smith DK, Grohskopf LA, Black RJ, et al. Antiretroviral postexposure prophylaxis after sexual, injection-drug use, or other nonoccupational exposure to HIV in the United States:recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MMWR Recomm Rep. Jan 21 2005; 54(RR-2):1-20.

 

[6]CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2008. Vol 20. Atlanta GA, USA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.