Today in History: AIDS in Black Africans
March 19th, 2008
As we’ve mentioned before, by the time 1983 came around the panic surrounding the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis had already reached epic proportions, with anti-gay groups and individuals pinning everlasting blame on the gay community. When they had bothered to notice, some would acknowledge that Haitians, drug addicts and hemophiliacs were also at risk for AIDS. But it was the gay community which bore the brunt of the responsibility for the new “plague.” In 1983, Pat Buchanan would thunder:
The poor homosexuals — they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.
Ignorance among many Americans was running a fevered pitch, but things were very different in Europe. Belgian and French doctors had noticing something for quite some time: they had been treating wealthy African immigrants from their former colonies who were suffering from diseases which were remarkably similar to those reported by AIDS patients in America. Finally, twenty-five years ago today, on March 19, 1983, the rest of the world would learn what they have been noticing with the publication of this brief letter in the respected journal The Lancet:
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in Black Africans
SIR,-Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been described in homosexual or bisexual men, in drug addicts, in haemophiliacs, and in Haitian immigrants. To our knowledge there is no report of AIDS and opportunistic infections in previously healthy Black Africans with no history of homosexuality or drug abuse.
Tables I and II show the clinical and immunological data on five Black patients seen in Brussels and who were from Central Africa (Zaire and Chad). Three of them had been living in Belgium, for between 8 months and 3 years. All were of good socioeconomic status. They presented with prodromes of fever, weight loss, and generalised lymphadenopathy, and extensive investigations did not reveal any neoplasia. Patients A and E died; the three survivors are still ill.
These patients fulfilled all the criteria of AIDS. …
This preliminary report suggests that Black Africans, immigrants or not, may be another group predisposed to AIDS.
Indeed, the world would soon learn the horror that had been stalking the Congo river region for decades. This small letter to the editor would later prove to be the canary in the coalmine. It is the first published indication of a pandemic which had already taken countless lives in Zaire and Chad, and would very soon engulf much of an entire continent.
Source:Clumeck, N.; Mascart-Lemone, F.; de Maubeuge, J.; Brenez, D.; Marcelis, L. Letter to the editor: “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in Black Africans.” Lancet 1, no. 8325 (March 19, 1983): 624.
Another Unsubstantiated NAMBLA Reference
October 6th, 2006
It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, as they say.
Pat Buchanan appeared on the October 5th edition of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country yesterday, raising the NAMBLA spector. The official transcript isn’t available yet (Update: the official transcript is here.), but a reader sent this in:
BUCHANAN: Let me make one more point. Ms. Pelosi has marched in gay pride parades with the North America Man-Boy Love Association, NAMBLA, which—who are pedophiles who are trying to get the laws repealed for sex between men and boys! If she’s been marching with pedophiles, is she credible standing up there saying, I’m shocked, shocked that some Republican is after 17-year-old pages?
For the past fifteen to twenty years, all of the reputable gay rights organizations have soundly and resultely rejected all associations with NAMBLA. It is a reprehensible organization advocating dangerous policys. The far right’s attempt to tie decent gay men and women with pedophiles is both reprehensible and slanderous.
And so, I want details. When and where. I want to get to the bottom of this to find out if there is any substance to this allegation.
If this occurred anytime in the past fifteen years, then I want the opportunity to add my voice of condemnation to such an action. And believe me, I will have no hesitation in doing so.
But if not, then Pat Buchanan (and Gary Bauer, too) owes an apology to millions of decent, honest Americans.