The day after Eric Duncan died of Ebola in a Dallas hospital, CDC Director Tom Frieden said this to a conference of the World Bank in Washington: “In my 30 years in public health, the only thing that has been like this is AIDS. We have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS.”
Comparing AIDS to Ebola is like comparing murder to suicide. The only commonality is death. I’ve stated this before but, obviously, it needs to be repeated. AIDS is the single-most preventible disease ever known to man. We know exactly how you get AIDS and we know exactly how to stop AIDS. It’s a behavioral disease.
Ebola, on the other hand, afflicts people at random. Knowing now Dr. Frieden’s mindset it’s no wonder that when Ebola first hit our shores the warnings of how you contract it were eerily similar to AIDS. It’s not transmitted through casual contact, they claimed. You can only get it through bodily fluids. What they didn’t tell us is, unlike AIDS, those bodily fluids included spit and sweat. That makes Ebola considerably more dangerous than AIDS.
Outside of those who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion — which is extremely rare these days — the transmission of AIDS was then, and still is, purposeful and reckless. It’s transmitted primarily through promiscuous sex. It can also be transmitted by sharing a needle with someone infected. Hardly as innocent as someone sneezing on you but such is the political correctness of our CDC.
In framing Ebola in the same terms as AIDS, Frieden may have put many more people at risk. Many were initially lulled into a false sense of security that was eroded as time wore on and facts about Ebola began to surface. Facts that laid waste to the CDC contention that you could not contract the disease through casual contact.
When aid workers returned from Africa with Ebola despite treating patients dressed in hazmat suits, it became clear that Ebola was far more easily transmitted than we were told. The fact that so many thousands in West Africa have come down with it destroys the myth that it’s not easily contracted.
So, why the purposeful confusion?
That’s a very good question for which immediate and easy answers are not available. Perhaps the comparison to AIDS was designed to calm our fears and stave off a panic. After all, we’ve come to understand AIDS and to no longer be afraid to interact with AIDS patients. Surely the CDC understands this is nothing at all like AIDS. If they truly believe it is then we’re in deep trouble. The way you manage and contain the two diseases is completely different.
Beating AIDS is simple. You simply educate the public on how it’s transmitted. You discourage promiscuous sex — most specifically between men — and you warn of the dangers of shooting up. Oh, well what about all those women who are getting AIDS? It’s true that women account for about 20 percent of new HIV infections but those women are getting AIDS either from a man who’s had sex with a man or through sharing a dirty needle with someone with AIDS.
In short, AIDS is about personal responsibility. Ebola strikes randomly. In fact, even though AIDS kills about 15,000 people per year in America and only 1 person has died of Ebola, I have a much better chance of getting Ebola than AIDS. That’s something the CDC would never tell you but it’s true.
When this administration and the folks at the CDC lie, people die. It’s as simple as that.