Professor James Chin’s latest article on AIDS epidemiology attracted a couple of comments on the sensitive subject of racism.
The answer is a clear ‘no’. HIV risk is
based upon epidemiological evidence, not racism – and by identifying high-risk
groups more can be done to help these groups.
Professor Chin, a former epidemiologist
for the World Health Organization (WHO), has successfully argued that there is
no risk of a ‘general’ pandemic of HIV / AIDS.
However, there are still certain high-risk
groups for which HIV / AIDS is a serious health threat. These include people
involved in overlapping sex networks – both among homosexual men globally, and
heterosexual people in certain parts of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
The World Health Organization (WHO) and
Global Program on AIDS (GPA) conducted “Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour and Practices” surveys in
the late 1980s and early 1990s which showed significant differences in sexual practices
between SSA countries and Asian countries. These results were backed up by
studies in Kenya several years later.
In Chapter 5 of his book “The AIDS Pandemic: the collision of epidemiology
with political correctness” Professor Chin analyses the epidemiological
evidence in detail.
Identifying high-risk groups is not done to create stigma. On the contrary, it should prevent millions of dollars of funds being wasted “protecting” those who are not at risk, and instead focus help towards people who really are.