Why Homosexuality Shouldn’t Be Promoted

I knew that gays had a maybe five or even ten times higher chance of getting AIDS and other STD’s than heterosexuals. I didn’t know the differential was actually more like 50.

Something like 20% of the US gay population (which makes up 3.5% of its total population) is HIV positive. It is 5% in the UK. But as of 2009, according to the CDC “male to male sexual contact” (see pp.58) accounted for about 57% of all HIV transmissions in the US (and of 75% of all HIV transmissions among men). “Heterosexual contact” among men accounted for a mere 8% of all HIV transmissions. Basically, if you’re gay, you should take far, far more precautions during sex than your straight counterparts – though in practice, it seems the precise opposite is taking place (“Carlos estimates that he has already had several hundred sex partners; he eagerly awaits the day when he tests HIV-positive – at which time his erotic interest, Carlos says, will then turn toward infecting another person – which is known as “gift-giving””).

The result is that back at the height of the epidemic in the 1990’s, life expectancy for gays was something like 20 years lower than for straights (those are risks far greater than for smoking). Assuming the gay population to be 3% of the male total, Canadian homosexuals had only a 32% chance of living from the age of 20 to the age of 65, far less than the 78% for the average Canadian man (or equivalent to a Canadian man in 1871). The study in question, however, was carried out at the very height of mortality from AIDS; since then, medical improvements have sharply reduced it, e.g. from more than 50,000 deaths in 1995 to a constant 20,000 or so from 1998 on. So I suppose the life expectancy penalty is now somewhat better than being a heavy smoker or an alcoholic (both about 10 years).

In other words, it’s a valid public health policy to make homosexuality culturally unattractive, as opposed to glamorizing it. And while it is certainly true that it does not apply to the vast majority of homosexuals, the statistics also destroy yet another liberal canard: That there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. In reality, studies indicate that 2-4 girls are abused for one boy, even though there are about 30 straights to every gay (the vast majority of sex abusers are of course male). Even allowing for necessary caveats – e.g., groups of male children are far more likely to be entrusted to males for supervision than groups of girls – that still strongly indicates that homosexuals are, on average, considerably more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals.

A corollary is that I am quite okay with Russia’s new law banning propaganda of the homosexual lifestyle to minors, the mewlings of human rights organizations and other putative do-gooders regardless. Funny how an hour or so of Internet research can destroy so much mainstream liberal “wisdom.”

Myth of the Russian AIDS Apocalypse

Many analysts of an unreasonably gloomy (or Russophobic) bent delight in raising the specter of an AIDS mortality crisis sometime in the next few years, indulging in fantasies of Russia as a dying, blighted wasteland populated by nihilistic, promiscuous druggies. In 2002 Vadim Pokrovsky, well known government anti-AIDS crusader, predicted the number of infected would rise to 3-5mn in “a few years“; by 2005, “we could be talking about five-million being infected, and these are realistic, even conservative figures” and tens of thousands would be dying by 2007. Prominent doomer demographer Nick Eberstadt modeled a 10% HIV prevalence rate by 2025 under a “severe scenario” and 2% under the lowest “mild scenario”. The World Bank (Ruhl et al) predicted a range of 3.21% (3.2mn cases) to 7.26% (5.3mn cases) by 2010, which is still much lower than US governmental National Intelligence Council estimates which project truly apocalyptic figures from 7.0% (5mn cases) to 11.2% (8mn cases). In other words the demographic, economic and geopolitical collapse of Russia is imminent.

To be fair a few years back I too was very concerned about these trends and apparent apathy of the Russian government. Then I became a bit more relaxed as the exponential tidal wave of new infections promised by Pokrovsky and the other prophets of doom failed to materialize and overall anti-AIDS spending ratcheted up to 300mn $ in 2006 and more than 500mn $ in 2007. Furthermore, a bit more research showed that these scenarios of African-style STD oblivion simply don’t stack up neither in theory nor in practice.

In 2007 Pokrovsky believed that there were “as many as 1.3mn” people infected with AIDS, very far from the multi-million rates he was predicting just five years ago, and not a catastrophic increase from “expert estimates” of 0.8mn in 2000. Russian government data shows that the percentage of pregnant women testing HIV positive reached a plateau in 2002 and tended down ever since. The models used by Eberstadt and co. are themselves critically flawed, because according to the international research program Knowledge for Action in HIV/AIDS in Russia, they assume that “the epidemic would be essentially heterosexual in nature and follow trends observed in sub-Saharan Africa”, which is “not borne out by current surveillance data from Russia”. (They are also not borne out by the slightest acquaintance with comparative development and sociology. Few Russians are malnourished and hence have greater immune resistance, their medical equipment tends to be sterilized and it is socially unacceptable for them to have many partners or engage in anal sex; all this cannot be said for sub-Saharan Africans).

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Demography II – Out of the Death Spiral

As we covered in the previous instalment, Demographics I: The Russian Cross Reversed?, fertility rates are not abnormally low by European standards and are likely to rise further in the future. The same cannot be said of mortality rates – a ‘quiet crisis‘ that has been a ‘catastrophe of historic proportions’.

Take life expectancy. As of 2007, the average age of death in Russia was 65.9 years. This is way below First World levels (United States – 78.0; EU – 78.7; Japan – 82.0) and even many developing country standards (Mexico – 75.6; China – 72.9; Egypt – 71.6; India – 68.6). Note: this figure was actually 67.7 years in 2007 (the CIA relies on its own projections to estimate demographic data), but the general point stands.

Even compared to other post-Soviet countries, Russia’s mortality stats are far from impressive – as you can see from the graphs in that link, total life expectancy, male life expectancy and death rates for both sexes all hovered near the worst levels. Nor is so-called healthy life expectancy anything to write home about (in 2002, it stood at 53 years and 64 years for men and women respectively, compared with 55/64 for Ukraine, 63/68 in Poland and 67/71 in the US).

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