Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Religious right spokesman omit facts about AIDS to smear gay men

Peter Sprigg
The Family Research Council anoints its spokesperson Peter Sprigg as a professional on matters of the lgbtq community, which also means the health of those in this community.

However, through his statements, we see the danger in giving this charlatan a degree of credibility. This is what he said recently about how to solve the AIDS crisis:

It was encouraging to read Michael Gerson’s column in The Washington Post recently on scientific advances which raise the prospect of “Putting AIDS on the road to extinction.” He is right to say, “Religious conservatives have no objections to treatment and are neither shocked nor alarmed by circumcision.”
However, he ignores two huge “elephants in the room.” The first is the role of behavior change in reducing infections. A Ugandan AIDS prevention official wrote in the Post in 2008 about his country’s success in dramatically reducing AIDS prevalence through use of the “ABC” message—“Abstain” from sex until marriage, “Be faithful” to your spouse, and “use Condoms” only if you fail at A and B. Gerson celebrates that the cost of treatment is now less than $350 per person; but Sam L. Ruteikara noted, “Our successful ABC campaign cost just 29 cents per person each year.”

Gerson noted that circumcision has reduced “the risk of transmission from women to men,” and that early treatment reduced “transmission to a heterosexual partner.” This may be encouraging for Africa, but is less so at home, where the CDC reports that “more than half (53%) of all people living with HIV” are men who have sex with men (MSM), “the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily.” Discouraging anal intercourse and sex with multiple partners—practices not unique to homosexual men, but more prevalent among them—are part of “the only morally acceptable strategy” to help America share in the end of AIDS.

It doesn't take a palm reader to figure out that Sprigg seems to be less worried about solving the AIDS crisis and more about blaming on alleged gay male sexual habits.

Perhaps I wouldn't question Sprigg's credibility if he had cited all of the information from the CDC report he used to draw his conclusion. Particularly the following:

Stigma and homophobia may have a profound impact on the lives of MSM, especially their mental and sexual health. Internalized homophobia may impact men’s ability to make healthy choices, including decisions around sex and substance use. Stigma and homophobia may limit the willingness of MSM to access HIV prevention and care, isolate them from family and community support, and create cultural barriers that inhibit integration into social networks.

Racism, poverty, and lack of access to health care are barriers to HIV prevention services, particularly for MSM from racial or ethnic minority communities. A recent CDC study found a strong link between socioeconomic status and HIV among MSM: prevalence increased as education and income decreased, and awareness of HIV status was higher among MSM with greater education and income.

What Sprigg did was an offense he has committed before (in his pamphlet The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality), i.e. take information a credible source to form a negative theory about gays, but making sure to omit crucial parts of that information which would destroy his theory.

Sprigg is no expert and those attempting to fight the scourge of AIDS should disregard his opinion.

Bookmark and Share


Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping to educate others against the lies told about LGBT community. However, I would like to make a suggestion regarding scientific language: that in a case similar to one like in this post, you use 'hypothesis' instead of 'theory'. The same conservative groups that abuse science to dismiss LGBT rights also misrepresent other scientific premises for their own selfish gains. One particular example is their dismissal of Evolution as "just a theory." However a theory has already been rigorously and repeatedly tested. A hypothesis, on the other hand, is formed before testing, and remains an hypothesis until evidence can be gathered to support it. If everybody used this language more precisely, these religious conservatives would have fewer misleading statements to hind behind.

Jimi said...

Well, quoting an unnamed Ugandan official certainly holds a lot of water. Not.