AFA’s Misquoting of the CDC

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2008

We commented earlier on an article in AFA’s OneNewsNow in which Regina Griggs displayed astonishing ignorance about the HIV infection rates of gay youth. Now the editors at AFA have amended the article

Over 70 percent of young kids 13- to 24-years-old, men having sex with men, are now HIV-positive,” Griggs notes. (see editor’s note)

and the editor’s note reads

In June of 2007 the Centers for Disease Control stated that homosexual sex accounted for 71 percent of all HIV infections.

Well now that’s an interesting statistic (though entirely irrelevant to Grigg’s claim). But what do they mean?

Is AFA saying that homosexual sex accounted for 71 percent of recent infections? The CDC Report (pdf) states:

MSM (49%) and persons exposed through high-risk heterosexual contact (32%) accounted for 81% of all HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in 2005. [the most recent year reported ; emphasis added]

Is AFA saying that homosexual sex accounted for 71 percent of total persons living with HIV/AIDS?

By sex, 73% of adults and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS were male.

Of the estimated 341,524 male adults and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS, 61% had been exposed through male-to-male sexual contact, 18% had been exposed through injection drug use, 13% had been exposed through high risk heterosexual contact, and 7% had been exposed through both male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use. [In other words, half: (61% + 7%) * 73% = 50% ; emphasis added]

Although the report provides information by ethnicity, location, age at transmission, cumulative deaths, and much more, I was unable to find any statistic that could be interpreted to state that “homosexual sex accounted for 71 percent of all HIV infections”.

(hat tip to reader Neil H)


August 1st, 2008

Let’s also remember that the CDC tracks only US infections, and HIV rates in the developed world do not follow the same pattern as infections in the third world, which has been hit far worse by HIV. In Africa, for instance, most HIV is transmitted through male-female sexual activity and maternal-child during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In China and other poorer countries, unsafe use of needles, even for legitimate medical purposes, is a major reason for the disease transmission. So, using any US figures distort the true nature of HIV around the world (where, IIRC, less than 5% of infections can be traced to male-male sexual contact).

Sportin' Life

August 1st, 2008

When does it actually become libel? Publishing an unrelated bald-faced lie as a footnote in support of an absurd bald-faced lie certainly shows a reckless disregard for truth.

a. mcewen

August 1st, 2008

Remember, One News Now (i.e. Agape Press) was calling Paul Cameron a “pro-family advocate” a few short years ago.

That it would fudge numbers doesn’t surprise me. But the fact that the phony news site actually amended an article is a surprise.

Neil H

August 1st, 2008

Found it. It’s not in an official CDC report, it’s in one of their factsheets. And OneNewsNow is still getting it wrong.

The factsheet is called HIV/AIDS among Men Who Have Sex with Men, which was not published in June 2007, but revised at that time. In the first paragraph it says “MSM accounted for 71% of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2005 (based on data from 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting)”

So it’s not “all HIV infections” at all, but “all HIV infections among males that occurred in 2005”. If you actually read the report rather than cherry-pick inflammatory-sounding statistics, it becomes quite clear that the 71% figure only refers to the proportion of new HIV/AIDS cases that were diagnosed in that year.

And of course, women apparently don’t exist in OneNewsNow’s world – unsurprising since the incredibly low risk of HIV infection among women who have sex with women directly contradicts the Religious Right’s gay=AIDS propaganda. Per the factsheet, the actual percentage of ALL HIV/AIDS diagnoses (not just those that occurred in men) in 2005 that might be attributed to MSM was 53%.

That’s pretty impressive: OneNewsNow managed to get it wrong even though the correct information was in the very same document they pulled the fake statistic from.

Still no idea where Griggs’ “13-24 year olds” bit came from either, if this is really the “statistic” that Griggs originally misquoted. I doubt that it was.

Mike Airhart

August 2nd, 2008

Great catch, Neil.

Also, the PDF that BTB cites in the main article is not a report for June 2007, it is from 2005. As with the factsheet, it was revised in 2007.

Mike Airhart

August 2nd, 2008

So, both the factsheet and the report cite data from the same year, 2005.

How, then, does one explain the discrepancy between MSM accounting for 49 percent of all new HIV diagnoses, and MSM being attributable to 53 percent of diagnoses?

Neil h

August 2nd, 2008

How, then, does one explain the discrepancy between MSM accounting for 49 percent of all new HIV diagnoses, and MSM being attributable to 53 percent of diagnoses?

There’s a category in the factsheet called “MSM and injecting drug users”, presumably where it’s not clear which of the two methods was the cause of the infection. I think the discrepancy would come from whether you include that category in the total number of cases of “MSM diagnosed with HIV” or not.


August 5th, 2008

What galls me most is that after looking into it, AFA still doesn’t correct the article.


August 10th, 2008

The false witness displayed by Regina Griggs and Tony Perkins (AFA) is staggering. You’d think if they took the ten commandments seriously they’d do their homework.

I think quite a few of these folks sincerely hate us, and aren’t quite the sincere believers they pretend to be.


August 10th, 2008

I meant Regina Griggs, Tony Perkins (FRC), and the AFA (oh, and let’s throw Dobson in there as well – the king of misusing research to demonize gays).

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.