Social media is an effective platform for the sharing and dissemination of information. An article dated December 2013, has been doing the rounds online; carrying ‘conclusive’ proof that HIV, the virus that has inflicted millions with the deadly AIDS, is an invention by one Dr Robert Gallo, who worked for the US Federal Government’s Special Virus Programme between 1962 and 1978.
The article, a ‘WikiLeaks’ of some sort, further incriminates the United States government of deliberately creating the virus for the sole purpose of controlling population growth: reducing reproduction rate among blacks, Hispanics and native Indians, as well as stemming the spread of homosexuality.
The piece explains the process of HIV creation, stating that the virus was engineered in a laboratory from Visna Virus – which causes a disease that wastes the human body – extracted from Icelandic sheep.
We live in a world with volumes upon volumes of conspiracy theories. Does this one hold any water? Is the AIDS virus a designer byproduct meant to control world population? It is true that Dr Gallo claimed the credit of discovering (not inventing) the AIDS virus in 1984? That claim was later challenged by a team of French virologists, who successfully proved that they discovered its existence before anybody.
Experts, like Kenya’s Dr George Githuka of the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCOP) maintain that they are not aware of any information regarding the creation of HIV in a lab.
“The history of how HIV came about is vague. I can’t comment on it because I am not aware of laboratory experiments that ultimately led to the creation of HIV. It is an issue rife with speculation,” he stated in a phone interview.
The medic maintains that he has no leads on ill motive directed at any group or race in the ‘creation’ of the AIDS virus. However, he confirms that the virus, from its onset, appeared to infect homosexual men more than any other group, “for the simple reason that anal intercourse transmits the virus more than vaginal intercourse. The anus isn’t as lubricated for intercourse as the vagina. The resulting friction makes it easy for the virus to be transmitted through anal sex.”
According to George, AIDS affects all races in the same manner: there’s nothing that makes Africans more vulnerable.
The HIV virus causes a breakdown in the body’s immune system, the prime defence the body uses against pathogens. The body is thereafter exposed to other forms of illnesses. The doctor advises that people should adhere to the ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful or using Condoms) of safe sex to prevent new infections.