Feminization Of AIDS
AIDS Statistical Games
A subject that has intrigued me for a long time is the way
statistics in the media are manipulated to mislead an unwary public, epecially
where scare topics and politics are involved. A good illustration is furnished
by attempts to recruit feminism into the politics of AIDS, which despite endeavors
to assert the contrary, remains overwhelmingly an affliction that affects males.
A newspaper op-ed essay, aimed at motivating feminist activism
by giving the impression that AIDS has become a major health hazard for heterosexual
women who don't use drugs, included this paragraph:
"New studies by the national Centers for Disease Control
confirm an alarming trend toward the feminization of AIDS: In 1995-96, new drug
treatments such as protease inhibitors helped bring the overall death rate from
AIDS down 19 percent, but not for women or minorities. AIDS deaths among women
increased 3 percent in the first half of 1996. AIDS is now spreading fastest
among heterosexual women of child-bearing age, shooting up 63 percent from 1991-95."
Sounds scary, and pretty decisive, doesn't it?
And then a professor of history at the University of Califonia
(sources provided on request) posted the following observation to a discussion
group that I follow and occasionally participate in:
Just an addendum about AIDS cases from Canada.
Canada has a population of around 40 million. As of June
30, 1997, there had been a cumulative total of 15,101 cases of AIDS reported
in Canada since 1981.
In 1995, a total of 1410 adult cases of AIDS was reported.
1295 (91.8%) were males and 115 (8.2%) were females.
Then in 1996, there was a total of 792 adult cases of AIDS
reported in Canada, a startling decrease of almost 50%! Of the 792 adult cases,
707 were males (89.2%) and 85 were females (10.8%).
So the number of adult female AIDS cases actually decreased
by 26% from 1995 to 1996. In a country with 20+ million women, there were only
85 female AIDS cases last year.
Yet, because the percentage of women with AIDS increased
from 8.2% in 1995 to 10.8% in 1996, even though the actual number decreased,
the *Quarterly Surveillance Report* (August 1997) from the Bureau of HIV/AIDS
and STD at the Canadian Laboratory Centre for Disease Control predictably and
mechanically issued the ominous warning that AIDS cases among Canadian women
had dramatically increased!