Article Title:Gay backlash from HIV rise begins
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:3rd March 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2238
Text:Last week's shock announcement of a dramatic rise in the number of HIV infections among MSM has seen the start of a backlash against the wider gay community. Various letters to the editor published in the NZ Herald over the last week blame the gay population for spreading AIDS to heterosexuals and even suggest the government should re-criminalise homosexual acts. “If this were any other disease the Government would protect its citizens by containment and legislation, but because of its ideological, liberalistic bent no effective action is taken,” writes Bruce Van As of Otahuhu. “I note a rather dramatic increase in the number of HIV cases lately and that it includes heterosexuals who have had the disease bequeathed to them by the homosexual community,” writes Angela Paul of Tuakau. “I seem to recall when the fight was on to legalise homosexual acts that one of the arguments presented was that such legislation would serve to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases. Obviously we were lied to.” The letters also indicate there is a high level of misinformation in the general population about HIV - Paul's letter goes on to assert that condoms do not give reliable protection against the disease – and that existing prejudices have been reinforced. “The shocking jump in HIV cases comes as no surprise,” writes Merv Nicholson of Mt Maunganui. “For too long we have been force-fed sexuality, diversity and creativity as a way of bringing a wider acceptance of the gay community – yet homosexuals have no effort to tone down their lifestyle, which is obviously becoming a public health risk. We might make some progress if Helen Clark and Tim Barnett spent more time spreading a message of responsibility instead of turning up at events such as the Big Gay Out chasing the pink vote.” There have so far been no letters of rebuttal printed.    
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