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AIDS misconceptions and conspiracy theories

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Because the worldwide spread of AIDS has had such a tragic effect on millions of people world wide, a number of misconceptions and conspiracy theories have appeared as a way of people to lay blame on someone else for the problem.


In some parts of Africa, an urban legend stating that having sexual intercourse with a virgin will cure AIDS has gained considerable notoriety. This myth has been seen at the center of certain recent stories involving sexual abuse and child rape.

External link: HIV/AIDS and child rape in South Africa (http://www.avert.org/childrapesafrica.htm)

A misconception holds that one person introduced HIV to North America. For information on this belief, see Patient Zero.

During the early 1980s, the disease's disproportionate occurrence within the gay community has led some Christian fundamentalists to brand AIDS the 'gay plague', a device used by God to show his "displeasure" with homosexual behaviour. This view was based upon a Biblical interpretation stating that homosexuality is a sin. Conservative religious spokespersons such as Jerry Falwell touched off considerable controversy when they described AIDS as God's way of "punishing" homosexuals.

Conspiracy Theories

A number of conspiracy theorists have suggested that AIDS is actually a man-made disease. In spite of scientific evidence of the disease's appearances as early on as the first half of the 20th century, the theory still persists in some areas that AIDS was created for military purposes. These theories usually state that the disease was meant to deliberately wipe out a certain segment of the population in an act of genocide.

Descriptions needed:

  • Many African-Americans in the US believe that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was invented by either white American scientists, or by "The Jews", as a way to destroy the black race. This conspiracy theory is most common among lower-income blacks in poor neighborhoods, and among putative left-wing black college students. These racist and anti-Semitic attacks have been propagated for years first by Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, and by the New Black Panther Party, as well by a number of extremist professors in various smaller colleges. (see also Steve Cokely).

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