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Kofi's Resignation Won't Cure the AIDS Epidemic
December 8, 2004
by Carey Roberts

A band of House Republicans has done the once-unthinkable and called for the resignation of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. But giving Annan the boot is only the first step. Because the entire United Nations bureaucracy has become a haven to aging do-gooders who care more about ideology than results.

Take the report, Women and AIDS, which was released by the UNAIDS two weeks ago. UNAIDS is the United Nations program charged with stopping the HIV threat.

The past 20 years I have held a front row seat in the unfolding AIDS drama. I have seen persons being handed the death sentence that they had contracted the HIV virus. I have witnessed the terrified look of AIDS patients coming in to check their plummeting CD counts.

This is a disease that plays for keeps. If we are going to beat AIDS, we need to use an approach that is based on hard science, not trendy ideology. And that's where the UNAIDS report goes wrong.

The first step in stopping AIDS is compiling accurate statistics on the spread of the disease. But if you look at the 2004 UNAIDS annual report, you will find the HIV infection rates for women and children -- but not for men. Is that because the lives of men count for less?

Last week Cliff Kincaid revealed how the UNAIDS has been cooking its statistics. For example, they once reported that 15% of the population in Kenya had HIV. But later the UNAIDS cut that number to just 6.7%.

Bottom line: All those impressive-looking AIDS statistics coming out of the UNAIDS are suspect, especially the ones that apply to men.

The Women and AIDS report contains a number of demonstrable falsehoods. Here are two of them:

1. "Men tend to have better access to AIDS care and treatment.through drug trials." Now go to the website clinicaltrials.gov, which lists all the AIDS studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and you will see that the reverse is true.

2. "Violence against women is a worldwide scourge, and a massive human rights and public challenge." But Linda Kelly recently wrote in the Florida State University Law Review, "Over the last 25 years, leading sociologists have repeatedly found that men and women commit violence at similar rates."

But the problem with the UNAIDS publication is not limited to its factual errors. Of greater concern is that the report sets up the boogeyman of patriarchy, and then casually lays the blame for the epidemic at the feet of men.

The report lectures ad nauseum, "men tend to hold the upper hand" and "the balance of power in many relationships is tilted in favor of men." But a recent Washington Post editorial, "A Female Pandemic?," took exception to this one-sided approach, because "high-risk groups are stigmatized, and hence often ignored."

The bias of the UN report is confirmed by its refusal to admit that women also contribute to the spread of AIDS. For example, the report never admits the fact that one-third of all heterosexual transmission of HIV is female to male.

Nor does the report reveal the slightest concern with HIV-infected prostitutes, those Typhoid Marys who infect hundreds of male partners in a single month. Maybe that's because radical feminists have no problem with women selling their bodies, just as long as they are paid equitably.

The UN report is not only palpably unfair to men; it's also dangerous to women. The report claims, "Women and girls often lack the power to abstain from sex."

Once you start preaching the mantra of female powerlessness, you are telling individual women there is nothing they can do to stop the spread of AIDS. That message is not only perniciously false, it is the hallmark of the totalitarian mindset.

Over the past three decades, feminists have developed a well-honed strategy: Make women feel angry and fearful, induce guilt and shame in men, and create an environment of hysteria.

On November 30 Peter Piot, director of the UNAIDS, came to Washington, DC to unveil the Women and AIDS report and to sound the drum-beat of female victimization. But US Ambassador Randall Tobias, who spoke at the same meeting, would have none of that.

It was good that Ambassador Tobias ignored the UNAIDS report. But side-stepping this radical feminist screed is not enough. The House Republicans and the Bush administration need to come out and repudiate the Women and AIDS document, a bonanza of gender bigotry.

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