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Monday, November 20, 2006
Anti-Gay WND Writer Misleads on S. Africa HIV
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 16 WorldNetDaily article by Mary Jo Anderson on a vote to legalize same-sex marriage in South Africa almost exclusively features criticism of the decision -- not surprising giving the author's anti-gay bias; she wrote a anti-gay marriage book (sold by WND, of course) called "Male and Female He Made Them" -- but she also includes some misleading, incomplete information.

Anderson wrote:

Medical workers also questioned the new law.

South Africa has over five million HIV-positive citizens, including infants born with the virus. Criticism swirls around the government's failure to treat sufficient numbers of HIV patients with appropriate drugs.

"They keep on moving the goalposts over the number of people receiving anti-retroviral drugs," noted Diane Kohler Barnard, the health spokeswoman for the Democratic Alliance, an opposition party to the ruling African National Congress.

A couple of problems: The "medical worker" Anderson quotes is not questioning the same-sex marriage law; she's questioning the availability of AIDS-fighting drugs, which Anderson doesn't indicate has anything to do with the new law.

Further, Anderson's attempt to bring up HIV seems a very clumsy to work in the filthy-gay angle without discussing the facts involving the demographics of HIV victims in Africa -- which indicate an epidemic among heterosexuals. Her noting of "infants born with the virus" belies that clumsiness; in fact, according to the international charity AVERT, the HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women was 30.2 percent -- a clear indicator that HIV in South Africa is not limited to the homosexual community. Further:

  • One research study states that "[t]he pattern of HIV transmission in our region has changed from homosexual to heterosexual."
  • A 2002 article in the International Journal of Epidemiology states: "Since establishing a foothold in South Africa, the heterosexual HIV epidemic has had a distinctive character—‘explosive' spread with no sign of a ‘saturation' plateau and predominance in women at younger age." 

Since heterosexuals in South Africa are apparently much more at risk for HIV than gays, there was no reason for Anderson to bring it up in a story about gay marriage, other than to take a gratuitous, inaccurate guilt-by-association swipe at gays.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST

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