Speaking on July 18th about the downed Malaysian Airlines flight, President Obama mentioned the many HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates headed for the 20th International AIDS Conference in Australia who were on the plane.
At the time, Obama said “the United States of America is going to continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose.”
Hate group leader Bryan Fischer decided he didn’t like that. Fischer said that Obama’s statement was meant to “politicize” their deaths in order to legitimize gay relationships.
Fischer added, “We know how to stop AIDS: persuade men not to have sex with men.”
Well, we all know that’s not true. But let’s let the folks at PolitiFact break it all down for us, shall we?
About 70 percent of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 24 million people. This region is also home to the most children living with HIV whose infections originated during pregnancy, childbirth of consuming breast milk, according to AIDS.gov.
Globally, the dominant form of transmission is heterosexual sex, said Sophie Barton Knott, UNAIDS spokeswoman. Nearly half of people with HIV are female, and most were infected through heterosexual sex. Most of the 50.9 percent of men with HIV got it through heterosexual sex, too, she said.
The highest rates of AIDS among 15- to 24-year-olds is among women in many parts of the world, said Seth Faison, spokesman for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. And in Eastern Europe, the highest transmission rates of AIDS are among people who inject drugs.
“Men who have sex with men are a high-risk group, but not the only one,” he said.
The bottom line?
Preventing men from having sex with men will not end AIDS.
Faison said the criminalization of same-sex activity actually can increase transmission rates. Being gay is a crime in at least 76 countries, and in those places, gay men are less likely to receive treatment, testing and prevention.
The CDC also says stigma and homophobia are likely one factor behind the rise in HIV infections among young gay men in the United States.
“In effect, efforts to ‘persuade men not to have sex with men’ is counterproductive,” Faison said. “It will not stop AIDS.”
PolitiFact gives the statement it’s worst rating of “Pants On Fire.”