World AIDS Day or World Anal Day? Anal Cancer Rate Up; Evangelicals In; Condoms All Around

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

World AIDS Day or World Anal Day? Anal Cancer Rate Up; Evangelicals In; Condoms All Around


Large US study confirms increase in rate of anal cancer reported AIDSMap on December 1, 2005, World AIDS Day.

Here are some excerpts:

A large survey analysing rates of cancer diagnoses in the United States has confirmed that the number of new cases of anal cancer has increased since the start of the HIV epidemic. The survey’s findings were presented in the 1st December edition of The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. ...

The number of anal cancer cases increased between the ‘pre-HIV era’ (1973 to 1981) and the ‘HIV era’ (1982 to 1995), from 0.6 to 0.8 per 100,000 people. It increased again in the ‘highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era’ (1996 to 2001), to 1.0 per 100,000 people. ...

"Since the introduction of HAART, the incidence of [anal cancer] has risen, particularly among men and younger individuals, the groups most affected by HIV," the researchers write.

Source: Chiao EY et al. A population-based analysis of temporal trends in the incidence of squamous anal canal cancer in relation to the HIV epidemic. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 40: 451-455, 2005.

What this means is that anal cancer is significantly more common now than it was in 1973.


Because of the increased incidence of anal penetration and with it infection with anal HPV.

In what the study calls "the HIV era (1982-1995)," many cases of anal cancer would have been obscured by the early deaths of the men infected with HPV.

Now, with men living longer on HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy), more and more cases of anal cancer are emerging among them.

So what I've called the great anal penetration frenzy among gay men which began in the 1970s produced not just an HIV epidemic, but an anal HPV epidemic as well.

And we can expect to see many more such epidemics among "men into anal," because when penetrated the anus and rectum are defenceless.

That's why the Surgeon General has said, "Anal intercourse is simply too dangerous to practice."

Because it is.

We've said that anal penetration is dangerous, dirty, and degrading -- and we're correct on all three counts.

Fact is, we could almost call World AIDS Day -- World ANAL Day.

Because among MSM, AIDS and anal are completely and inextricably inter-linked.

As are anal and HPV.

In the meantime, Yahoo! reported on Nov. 30, American evangelicals, who've long ministered to AIDS victims in Africa, have begun to pay attention to people with HIV/AIDS here in America.

It's difficult to know how that's going to play out.

Of course, the AIDS demographics are changing in America, with far more women now infected than ever before.

But gay and bi men still make up about 50% of those infected.

And most of the women are getting infected by male partners with secret male-male sex-lives.


What's the response of the evangelicals?

"The church has the moral authority to say, 'Hey, it's not a sin to be sick,'" said [evangelical megachurch pastor Rick] Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," a best-selling book. "The Gospels repeatedly show that Jesus loved, touched, and cared for lepers -- the diseased outcasts of his day. Today's 'lepers' are those who have HIV/AIDS."

Warren's right of course that it's not a sin to be sick, but he's wrong that those who have HIV/AIDS are "today's lepers."

While it's true that for the first fifteen years of the epidemic, gay men in particular with AIDS were treated like lepers, that's no longer the case in most of America.

To the contrary, Americans, gay or nongay, living with HIV/AIDS have a vast panoply of government and donor-sponsored programs available to them which are designed to help them, keep them alive, and indeed keep them integrated into society.

Such was not the case for the lepers at the time of Jesus' ministry.

Not only was there no support for lepers from the Roman or Greek or Herodian or other authorities, but the cause of leprosy was not known, making it a particularly frightening disease.

Again, that's not true of AIDS.

Every schoolchild in America knows that HIV is sexually-transmitted, and most know just which acts transmit it.

And that brings up once again the moral and public policy issue which has always been at the heart of AIDS:

Should we treat sick people differently based upon how they became sick?

The answer is No, of course not.

We don't beat up on or otherwise stigmatize smokers who develop lung cancer.


And as a consequence, the rate of lung cancer is decreasing.

While the prevalence of HIV continues to increase.


Because the gay male community has insisted that we cannot be critical of the two behaviors -- anal and promiscuity -- which among gay and bi men actually transmit and spread the disease.

That's the problem.

It's like saying we want to decrease lung cancer but we mustn't ever say a cross word about tobacco, tobacco companies, the glamorization of cigarette smoking in the mass media, smoker's cough, smoker's breath, emphysema, etc.

It's insane.

Not only can we not criticize anal and promiscuity, but almost everything imaginable is done to support men who engage in the acts.

And indeed to encourage men who aren't yet involved in the acts, to be so.

For example, according to the Toronto Star of 25 November 2005, AIDS Council Toronto has been arranging for "virgins" to have tours of the city's bathhouses:

The committee is also hosting "Virgin Tours" of two Toronto bathhouses this Sunday for "curious bathhouse virgins," aimed at 18- to 25-year-olds.

-- more on that to come.

And while there's been some criticism of outright bug-chasing -- some, not a lot -- the reality is that ALL BAREBACKING IS BUG-CHASING.


Folks like Rick Warren may be well-meaning, but they need to understand that when it comes to HIV, the gay male community is at this point the author of its own ills.

Otherwise, they're liable to end up supporting the very behaviors which create "people living with HIV / AIDS."

In the meantime, on the rest of the planet, World AIDS Day means World Condom Day.

For example, in New Zealand, we're told:

Press Release: AIDS Foundation

Press release: 28 11 05

HIV virus is more serious than ever before - the solution still as simple

In 2005, the 20th year of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, the message for World AIDS Day on 1 December is one that would be instantly recognised by those involved in New Zealand’s earliest HIV prevention campaigns - "condoms save lives."

The Foundation’s poster for World AIDS Day this year features three "rings" - a popular round sweet with a hole in the middle, a traditional round flotation buoy and a condom - with the word "lifesavers" beneath. The idea of the "lifesavers" theme is to increase visibility and awareness of condoms over the summer months when sexual activity is high.

[emphasis mine]

So, according to NZ AIDS Foundation's own press release, their message has not changed since their earliest HIV prevention campaigns: "condoms save lives."

If that message is so successful, why does it still need to be repeated?

"the solution is still simple" says the Foundation

If it's so simple, why doesn't it work?

Fact is, condoms aren't simple.

They're complicated and difficult to use, and they fail.

There is a truly simple solution to MSM HIV transmission:

Avoid anal.

That does work.

Each and every time.

And not only is there no diminution in pleasure, as there is with condoms, if the men choose Frot, pleasure INCREASES.

New Zealand AIDS Foundation doesn't care and isn't interested.

They're going to keep pushing condoms under the slogan "lifesavers," "over the summer months when sexual activity is high.'

Thus hammering home again and again that if you're gay, sex = anal.


The most dangerous form of MSM "sex" and the one act guaranteed to transmit HIV and HPV.

These aren't lifesavers; they're lifelosers.

And in Africa, according to Yahoo!,

Some countries, notably Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe, appear to be bringing infection rates down -- thanks in part to condom campaigns.


No mention of the A and B of ABC, just condoms.

In Uganda, it was not condom campaigns.

It was frank talk about death, combined with the exhortation to abstain and be faithful.

And most observers believe that Fidelity was and is the most important component.

That's it for World AIDS Day 2005:

1. Talk about yet another anally-vectored disease which has reached epidemic proportions among gay and bi men.

2. NO mention of non-anal alternatives.

3. NO mention of Fidelity.

Setting us up for yet higher HIV prevalence in 2006.

If you're an AIDS bureaucrat or condom manufacturer or pornographer or part of big pharma, that's good news.

The rest of us just have to suffer.

Or do we?

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