Thu 16th October 2008, 11:19pm
QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Thu 16th October 2008, 3:48pm)
Back in 1984, the people running the state of California removed AIDS from the state list of communicable diseases. They did it because they were a bunch of cheap bastards, who calculated that to use the public health system on AIDS would cost a bundle, and they decided to pinch pennies and let people die. But these cheap bastards were clever, too -- they went to the gay community and told them that they were doing it to "protect privacy." This was sort of plausible, because the standard approach to Sexually Transmitted Diseases is to do what is called "contact tracing" -- you interview the person who has been diagnosed with the disease, and ask them with whom they have had sex. This enables them to locate people who don't know they are infected, and may be out there infecting others.
Enter LaRouche, who said that this was an insanely dangerous course of action, because (if memory serves) people can carry the HIV virus for up to seven years without showing symptoms of AIDS, and when you consider the possible number of sexual partners they might have in that time span, it's like a chain reaction. So, LaRouche put Proposition 64 on the California ballot, to put AIDS back on the list. The penny-pinchers promptly went to the gay organizations and said, "LaRouche is a homophobe! He wants to invade your privacy!" The gay organizations took the bait, and launched a jihad against LaRouche.
Wow, that's an economically biased perspective, considering the amount of money California would throw at AIDS just a few years later, when a blood test was available. Cheap bastards they might be, but everyone was terrified of the blood supply by 1985.
Your history is messed up. In 1984 there was no AIDS test, but there was decent epidemiological evidence for blood transmission. There was less evidence for sexual transmission, and no way to prove same, without a lab test. (This came in 1985)
If you think gay men in 1984 were not capable of screaming bloody murder about contact-tracing of even a manifestly-sexually transmitted disease, all on their own, you don't know the history of hepatitis B and syphilis, which spread through the gay community in a very similar way to AIDS, in the decade before AIDS. Syphilis caused problems and a great deal of screaming from gay men about discrimination, but there wasn't much the gay community could do, since it was a long reportable communicable disease. However, the guy community did mange to block contract tracing for heptitis B, on grounds that it wasn't ALWAYS a SEXUALLY transmitted disease (instead, in gay men, it just only usually was).
This was an entirely politically-correctness thing. At the time, you were forbidden to ask blood donors about their sexual activities, even though it was known for certain that hepatitis B was epidemic in gay men (causing this group to be so at-risk that it was the one in which the first heptitis B vaccine was tested, in 1980 or so). At the time, the existence of a hepatitis B test, which was being used to screen blood anyway, was used an an excuse not to ask about sexual behavior (it didn't matter what you did in the bedroom, went the thinking-- they were going to test blood anyway). At the same time, LACK of an AIDS test was ALSO used as an excuse not to ask about sexual behavior! (The idea being that since there wasn't a test, there was no way to be sure the agent wasn't transmitted only by sharing needles, and not strictly sexually. Even illicit drug use itself was suggested as a cause). Doctors and blood banks cooperated with all of this, because they didn't want to do anything to interupt the blood donation process, and would fight tooth and nail against anything which made it harder to donate. Money for contact tracing had very little to do with any of it.
Anybody who gives you a different history on this, wasn't there in California, watching the medical system as all this happend. I was.