Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Fat Blokes And AIDS

Newish blogger Paul points out the basic weirdness of the current public health approach to dealing with AIDS, namely the weasel words used to describe how it's transmitted. To quote the ever reliable Peter C, it's as if anyone who thought there might also be a behavioural factor in its spread must believe in the Stork.

What's makes the whole thing even weirder is that the self-same bodies positively relish wagging their finger at people whose lifestyles make them vulnerable to other illnesses. What proportion of adverts dealing with heart disease feature a fat bloke with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other ? So committed have the health nazis been to pushing the line that heart disease is caused by drinking, smoking, overwork and lack of exercise that few would realise that the biggest risk factor is…. genetics.

Not only do bad genes mean you might drop dead, but you also have the reassurance of knowing that if you do all and sundry will describe you as 'asking for it' based on the fact you once had more than two pints in the same night. Here is a real case of victims of disease being unfairly stigmatised, and it's the government that's doing it.

There's a darker side to all this though. Things being what they are, it's usually the lady of the house who does most of the cooking while it's man of the house who succumbs to heart disease. So not only do women face the loss of a loved one, they have the health weasels implying that if only they hadn't served him such garbage to eat, he'd still be alive. Cruel, dishonest and entirely cynical: the government wants to put the blame on the victims to hide it's own culpability. While suggesting restrictions on the use of AZT, protease inhibitors and the like for HIV+ patients is verbotten, the government is quite happy to restrict the deployment and use of clot-buster drugs, which can produce dramatic improvements in many cardiac arrest patients. Needless to say, the distribution of research effort is similarly skewed. Maybe there are good reasons for this, but if the health freaks can blather about marginal factors like overwork leading to disease, they sure can mention that AIDS can be spread by shagging.

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