Saturday, August 29, 2015

There Is Nothing Scientific About Encouraging Anonymous And Promiscuous Sexual Activity Doing That Isn't A Liberal Act

Yesterday I had someone answer a comment I made about the fact that having sex with someone you don't know is a risk factor in catching STDs with a rather too breezy dismissal of the seriousness and danger of having the HIV virus.

I was assured that HIV was "easily tested for" and " if present is "a manageable disease" which is a pretty insane response to a virus which can lie dormant for years, with which a large number of those infected don't know they're infected and the treatment for which is expensive.,

Being a gay man who knew many dozens of people who died horrible deaths form HIV and who saw the unmistakable horror that it means for those who develop a host of secondary infections and diseases from it in hundreds of other people and knowing that around the world, for poor folk, here and elsewhere, I'm appalled that such a statement can be made by anyone with the ability to read and type.  And I'm even more appalled that it has become the common wisdom of such a large percentage of those who are alleged to have an education and who consider themselves intelligent and sophisticated.

HIV, only one of the STDs I alluded to in my comment is not easily tested for nor an easily manageable disease.  That is proved by the failures of testing and management to prevent new infections.  In the United States, today, every year,  more than 40,000 new infections are reported.   According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control,

About 1.2 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2012, the most recent year this information was available. Of those people, about 12.8% do not know they are infected.

That would make more than a million and a half people in the United States who are 1. untested, 2. untreated, 3. unknowingly putting those who they have sex with, share needles with, etc. at risk of infection by someone who won't be able to tell them they were at risk.

And the CDC also says that significant numbers of people die from HIV now, more than a decade after the New York Times declared "The Plague is Over"

... about 13,712 people diagnosed with AIDS died in 2012. HIV disease remains a significant cause of death for certain populations. To date, an estimated 658,507 people diagnosed with AIDS in the United States have died.

Nor is the treatment an easily managed thing in the lives of many of those people, a large number of whom are poor, without resources and not able to afford the treatment they need.

You don't have to take my word for that, either,  here is what the CDC said about that five years ago.

The average annual cost of HIV care in the ART [anti-retroviral treatment ] era was estimated to be $19,912 (in 2006 dollars; $23,000 in 2010 dollars).3 The most recent published estimate of lifetime HIV treatment costs was $367,134 (in 2009 dollars; $379,668 in 2010 dollars).

I don't know if the increase of more than ten thousand dollars over four years would continue till today but it's obvious that we're talking about a seriously expensive disease to treat, especially if you don't have insurance that covers most of the cost, which many of us still don't.

And the "manageability" of the infection as a matter of medical treatment is somewhat oversold. From the same study by the CDC

Using US national HIV surveillance data, another study estimated that average life expectancy after an HIV diagnosis increased from 10.5 to 22.5 years from 1996 to 2005.

HIV survival data have been reported slightly differently in the literature because of various definitions of timeframe, e.g., time from HIV seroconversion to AIDS, time from seroconversion to death, and time from HIV diagnoses to death. Survival also varies by gender, age at infection, mode of infection, and the timing of initiation of antiretroviral therapy.

As wonderful as gain of a theoretical average of twelve years of life gained is,  even with treatment a large number of people die at a younger age due to the virus and the numbers are hardly reliable in defining what you can expect to happen under treatment.  Treatments have effects of their own and drug regimens don't insure perpetual reliability.

The insane declaration made by people like Andrew Sullivan 19 years ago that, in effect, "AIDS is over" was always far more true for affluent men who have access to the finest of care, it is hardly the case for most people, world-wide, who are infected.

The insanity and complete irresponsibility of that declaration by the likes of Sullivan and the Wall Street Journal editor, David Sanford, among those who should have known more than anybody how dangerous the virus was, has led to people figuring that being infected was no big deal.  Which, in turn, led to people, especially children and young adults, engaging in risky behaviors who had suspended that, especially younger people who didn't see people dying from the virus.  The insanity and idiocy of sex pos pseudo-feminism, of hooking up culture and the insanely immature attitude towards having sex with lots of people you don't know is a product of irresponsible journalism and the extension of immaturity into senescence, not science.

There is no guarantee that strains of HIV which resist all treatments aren't going to arise in the wild populations of the virus that are being spread.  If you think it's not possible that such a thing as untreatable HIV will come up, consider that in 1980 no one was expecting gay men to start getting rare cancers and other exotic diseases in large numbers and dying from it in very large numbers, not to mention the members of racial and ethnic groups, members of other populations of people on who the burden of the infection fell most heavily.  It came from out of nowhere.  Once there I would imagine there would be no better means of aiding its evolution than by having large numbers of new infections, new infections which are largely the result of having sex with lots of people, especially those who you don't know.

And what you can say about HIV you can say about other life threatening diseases which can be spread through sex.  Those are real and some of them are wide spread and killing people.  I've mentioned before how in the early 1970s, years before AIDS became known, a gay man I knew made a joke about having hepatitis as a "rite of passage" for young gay men.  Even if it is treated the effects of having some strains of hepatitis can lead to death, not infrequently through cancer of the liver, an especially horrible way to go and a particularly hard cancer to treat.

And there is no guarantee that another, entirely new, STD won't evolve in the opportunity rich environment that people who have sex with lots of folks present to infections organisms.  Another HIV-like virus could arise for which science won't produce any kind of treatment and for which a vaccine will elude scientists as well.

Even a lot of us who were revolted by and chose to not participate in the insane irresponsibility of massive promiscuity and the obvious and known health dangers of anal and other forms of sex popularized in the late 1970s didn't really expect such a horrifying thing as the AIDs epidemic. And a lot of that sex in which names and addresses were not exchanged, nevermind health profiles, was expected to exchange infections.  It was common wisdom that you should expect to get anything from crabs to syphilis to hepatitis from it.  We didn't have the AIDs phenomenon to inform us of how bad it could get, no one among the allegedly educated class of the United States, Europe and other places has that excuse today.  Penicillin and its related drugs were depended on to take care of those supposed minor inconveniences of having lots of sex with lots of people you barely or didn't know at all.  It didn't prevent what we and science hadn't known before from happening.

It is a symptom of the decay of liberalism today that it is considered a greater violation of liberalism to take seriously the observations about the dangers of promiscuous and anonymous sex made by those with the most scientific expertise than it is to promote the sexual practices that carry those dangers.  It is especially telling that the journalistic venues that endlessly promote irresponsible sexual activities in 2015 are the first to mock other people for their anti-scientific beliefs, such as the anti-vaccination crowd.

If it's irresponsible to refuse to have your children vaccinated against communicable diseases which they could get through chance encounters, which it is, it is ever so more irresponsible to promote practices that carry the danger of being exposed to communicable diseases for which there is no vaccine.  

What is common in journalism and on blogs today is worse than something like encouraging people, especially children, to play chicken with cars on a busy street.  That it is a matter of sex instead of running into traffic doesn't make doing that any more rational, sophisticated, or a statement of scientific enlightenment.  It makes it worse because we are ever so much more likely to delude ourselves when it is something which will give us pleasure which will kill us.  The people who promote promiscuity online and in the media are today's equivalent to tobacco advertisers and the murderers who knew they were selling addiction and death.  Salon, Alternet, all kinds of blogs that do that show that their pose of liberal enlightenment informed by science is an empty pose and a total lie.


  1. Everything has consequences, but oh how we love to pretend we have transcended that reality.

    1. The belief they have reality on their side is the "reality community" equivalent of people who thought they had God on their side, only the modern version of that is even more irrational because the science shows they aren't and they also believe they are the champions, defenders and warriors of science when they are among its more serious deniers. How many people die from denying the reality of evolution as compared to denying the dangers of sleeping with strangers?

  2. From the New York Times earlier this week:

    Psychics are completely full of shit? WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED!!!!

    1. Simps, you obviously don't know the difference between scientific research and what couldn't be more removed from science. Your Eschaton buddies, even the real science teachers and scientists among them won't tell you but you are a total fraud when it comes to this topic as you are when it comes to all others.

      I'm still waiting for your good buddy "Skeptic Tank" to send me the link to his CV and publications list but I'm not expecting those are any more real than his name. See our exchange in the comments below when he proved himself so scientifically erudite that he mistook subject headings for a publications list. I'm quite prepared to believe he might be in the lower rungs of the so-called social sciences but he's going to have to prove it. I asked someone to evaluate his claims of citation and they said they doubted very much that he's talking about scientific citations if he isn't just making that up.