THE MYTH OF HETEROSEXUAL AIDS by Michael Fumento

THE MYTH OF HETEROSEXUAL AIDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Is a heterosexual AIDS epidemic about to explode? Fumento, a journalist specializing in AIDS, says it's a myth. Reviewing reported statistics, he concludes that heterosexual transmission is uncommon--as evident especially in N.Y.C., where better questioning methods uncover false denials of drug abuse and homosexuality, and where only seven males have been identified as having got AIDS through heterosexual intercourse. (Three times as many women get it, but 80% of them are partners of drug abusers, some probably unacknowledged users themselves.) Fumento believes that new AIDS cases are leveling off altogether, and in any case the history and current incidence of heterosexual cases won't support an epidemic. Moreover, multiple partners don't increase the risk. As for Africa, Fumento points to a multiplicity of causes--unsterilized medical needles, untested blood transfusions, high incidence of anal sex and bisexuality, ""profound promiscuity,"" other STDs that raise the risk, female mutilation and lack of male circumcision--for the different story there and in Haiti. Why, then, all the alarm? Fumento blames it on media sensationalism, homosexuals' efforts to deflect prejudice, the AIDS establishment's efforts to destigmatize the disease and raise money for the cause, and conservatives' moralism. He blames them for diverting money from other diseases, a position sure to be attacked. But then the whole book is a hot potato: Heated in tone, persuasive in the main, sure to offend with its ""we're okay, it's only them who are not okay"" assurances.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1989
Publisher: Basic Books