14 August 2007

Conspiracy and denial

Why Africa? Why, of all the places on this planet, was Africa alone afflicted with the AIDS virus? Why was Africa its only source, now that we know that the AIDS virus has spread across the globe?

No one knows for sure. But conspiracy theories have done their time in order to answer these questions.

One conspiracy theory suggests the CIA’s involvement. That, during the Cold War (a period between World War II and the early nineties), the CIA had targeted Black Africans and infected them with the AIDS virus, surreptitiously, through vaccination campaigns. What had the Cold War – i.e. political tension between the United States and the (former) Soviet Union – to do with Black Africans in Africa? I’m not sure, but some say the CIA was evil enough to have done the damage.

Another theory suggests the involvement of the South African secret service. That, during Apartheid (coincidentally, the same period as the Cold War), the South African secret service targeted Blacks and infected them with the AIDS virus. This conspiracy theory seems to make some sense as, during Apartheid, there was a systematic ethnic separation of the Blacks from the Whites by the South African government. The theory may hold water because the South African secret service was known to have committed many an evil deed during Apartheid.

Whether these conspiracies are true, no one knows for sure. And, as you can guess, both the CIA and the South African secret service have denied charges against them.

Perhaps there are other theories we don’t know about. But there does seem to be a more accepted theory regarding the spread of the AIDS virus.

This theory involves the promiscuous nature of the African population. That, the AIDS virus was – and still is – spread through what are called ‘core transmitters’ in the sex trade: prostitutes, and the truck drivers and migrant workers who patronised them. What’s more, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference’, this ‘core transmitters’ theory in spreading the AIDS virus seems to be true not just in dark Africa, but also in the more civilised Western world.

Of course, most African leaders have denied the ‘AIDS-virus-spread-through-core-transmitters’ theory as another Western conspiracy against Black Africans. But medical data does suggest that the AIDS virus is spread through unsafe sex. Whatever be the case, it can’t be denied that the threat of AIDS to our evolution is a real one.

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