(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on 7/23/95.)
Editor: " . . . Yet homosexuality has never posed any real danger -- physical, emotional, or moral -- to any society or its families in all of recorded history." In response to my statement above, Wilma Veleker asked (Review, 7/12/95), "Isn't AIDS physical?" Although not explicitly stated, Mrs. Veleker implied a connection between AIDS and homosexuality. Her assumed unstated conclusion -- "Since AIDS is a physical affliction and a deadly disease, then homosexuals have posed a real physical danger to society and its families."
To test this conclusion, a few steps are required, each of which must be true for the conclusion to be true.
Premise #1 -- AIDS, caused by infection with HIV, is a deadly disease.
Almost everyone infected with HIV will eventually develop AIDS, a spectrum of illnesses with a current fatality rate of one hundred percent. There is no doubt that the first premise is true.
Premise #2 -- (a) Homosexuals caused HIV, or (b) exclusively spread HIV, or (c) accelerated the overall infection rate of HIV. If any part of premise #2 is true, then the entire premise is true. For it to be false, all three parts must be false.
There are several theories that HIV is man-made. All have been discounted as being beyond current technologies, and impossible with technologies decades older. Therefore, homosexuals did not create or cause HIV. Thus 2(a) is false.
For (b) to be true, homosexuality must be a necessary condition for the spread of HIV. In other words, it must be shown that HIV and AIDS would not spread without homosexuals.
HIV is a virus whose speculative origin is from a random mutation of a similar virus that occurs in the African green monkey. The original mode of transmission is thought to have been consumption of undercooked infected meat or contact with infected blood during preparation of a carcass. Regardless, at some point the virus appeared and infected its first host. Subsequent infections between humans occurred through contact with infected body fluids. Since the infecting agents are not unique to homosexuals, AIDS would have spread without homosexuals. Thus 2(b) is false.
The infection rate now becomes the point of debate. How have homosexuals affected the rate? Even though they are not unique vectors in the transmission of HIV, they would still pose a danger by accelerating the infection rate.
Consider though that the overall infection rate may have been slowed in the early eighties by the crucial response of the CDC and the medical community to the high incidence of homosexual men exhibiting symptoms of this previously unknown disease. If infection had spread gradually and uniformly, it would have taken longer to identify the mode of transmission, the blood supply would have been compromised for a longer time, and warnings about how to prevent HIV infection would have been delayed. Thus 2(c) is false.
Since 2(a), 2(b), and 2(c) are all false, premise #2 is false. Therefore, Mrs. Veleker's conclusion must also be false.
John L. Ferri