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From the New York Times in 2012:

A Regime’s Tight Grip on AIDS

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: May 7, 2012 93 Comments

HAVANA — … Ms. García is alive thanks partly to lucky genes, and partly to the intensity with which Cuba has attacked its AIDS epidemic.

Whatever debate may linger about the government’s harsh early tactics — until 1993, everyone who tested positive for H.I.V. was forced into quarantine — there is no question that they succeeded.

Cuba now has one of the world’s smallest epidemics, a mere 14,038 cases. Its infection rate is 0.1 percent, on par with Finland, Singapore and Kazakhstan. That is one-sixth the rate of the United States, one-twentieth of nearby Haiti.

The population of Cuba is only slightly larger than that of New York City. In the three decades of the global AIDS epidemic, 78,763 New Yorkers have died of AIDS. Only 2,364 Cubans have.

Other elements have contributed to Cuba’s success: It has free universal basic health care; it has stunningly high rates of H.I.V. testing; it saturates its population with free condoms, concentrating on high-risk groups like prostitutes; it gives its teenagers graphic safe-sex education; it rigorously traces the sexual contacts of each person who tests positive.

By contrast, the response in the United States — which records 50,000 new infections every year — seems feeble. Millions of poor people never see a doctor. Testing is voluntary, and many patients do not return for their results. Sex education is so politicized that many schools teach nothing about protected sex; condoms are expensive, and distribution of free ones is haphazard.

Cuba has succeeded even though it has the most genetically diverse epidemic outside Africa. Almost all American cases are of one strain, subtype B. Cuba has 21 different strains.

The genetic diversity is a legacy of its foreign aid. Since the 1960s, Cuba has sent abroad thousands of “internationalists” — soldiers, doctors, teachers and engineers.

A 1987 article estimates Cuba had 65,000 troops stationed in Africa. Haiti became a conduit of AIDS infection in the New World due in part to Francophone middle class Haitians getting UN and local government jobs in Africa. Cuba also sent doctors to Africa, but it also sent a huge number of young soldiers. This account says a total of 425,000 Cuban “volunteers” were in Africa at some point. But maybe guys who volunteer for ground combat are less likely to bring back AIDS than other venereal diseases?

Stationed all over Africa, they brought back a wide array of strains. According to a study in 2002, 11 of Cuba’s 21 strains are unknown elsewhere, formed when two others mixed.

And Cuba’s success has come despite its being a sex tourism destination for Europeans and Canadians.

While the police enforce laws against overt streetwalking, bars and hotel lobbies in downtown Havana are filled with young women known as jineteras — slang for “jockeys” — who approach foreigners, asking if they would like to go for a drink, or perhaps dancing, with the unspoken assumption that it will lead to more. Even so, of the roughly 1,000 new infections diagnosed each year, 81 percent are among men and very few among young unmarried women. …

The few Cuban women who are infected usually get the virus from partners who are secretly bisexual, experts said.

“Homo-bisexual transmission” is its own category in Cuba; socially, a man who occasionally has sex with other men is not considered gay if he is a “top” — the penetrative partner, explained Ramón Arango García, a fashion designer and educator at the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Center.

Heroin use, which drives epidemics in many countries, is virtually nonexistent in Cuba, officials insist.

And since 1986, only 38 babies have been born with the virus. …

In 1983, Fidel Castro visited the Pedro Kourí Institute, Cuba’s top tropical disease hospital, to hear a presentation on malaria and dengue fever.

As it ended, he suddenly asked the director, “Gustavo, what are you doing to keep AIDS from entering Cuba?”

Dr. Gustavo Kourí, son of the institute’s founder, was caught off guard, Dr. Pérez said, and stammered: “AIDS, comandante? AIDS? It is a new disease. We don’t even know whether it’s produced by a bacteria, a virus or a fungus. There isn’t much data on it, just what’s been reported in the United States and a few cases in Europe. It will take time to know how big it is.”

Mr. Castro replied: “I think it will be the epidemic of this century. And it’s your responsibility, Gustavo, to stop it becoming a major problem here.”

This was two years before any American president publicly uttered the word “AIDS.”

You are supposed to assume here that that’s because Ronald Reagan of Hollywood was so intolerant of gays while Fidel Castro was so tolerant, but of course it was the other way around. Heck, Hollywood nominated Javier Bardem for a Best Actor Oscar in 2000 for playing in “Before Night Falls” a rare anti-Communist movie. Bardem played a gay Cuban poet who has to flee homophobic Castroite Cuba for freedom in America, where he dies of AIDS.

Asked how Mr. Castro could have been so prescient, Dr. Pérez struggled to find the right word, then said: “Castro has luz larga” — “big lights,” the Cuban slang for automobile high beams. “He reads a lot. He sees far ahead.” …

Until recently, Cuban society and government policies were deeply homophobic; in the revolution’s early days, gay men were sent to labor camps. Fidel Castro now publicly says he regrets that action.

To sum up what the NYT reporter doesn’t dare: Castro’s totalitarian policy in 1983-1993 of quarantine safely got Cuba through the worst years before there were good tests and some treatments.

 
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  1. Fidel Castro: Ahhh, the Americans aren’t so bad, they named a street after me in San Francisco.

    [Aide whispers in his ear]

    Fidel Castro: It’s full of *what*?

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  2. OT, but for the next post about schools, you need this Simpsons clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vis8Aaekpw

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  3. I’ve been watching tennis lately and I came upon this 2 year old post with the apples & oranges comparison between tennis and golf major winners…

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2012/08/federer-v-nicklaus-most-tennis-golf.html

    In that two years, neither Federer or Woods have won a major… Nadal has won 3 majors to tie Tiger with 14… Djokovic has won 2 to bring his total to 7.

    It’s been 6 years now since Woods has won his last major… he’s 38 now and Nicklaus was 46 when he won his last major… Nicklaus was 38 when he won his 15th major so Tiger has fallen behind age wise too..

    The last tennis match I could really remember before watching tennis recently was Sampras/Agassi US Open 2002. Maybe it’s because those two were past their prime, but the athleticism difference between then and now now just seems insane. I do remember coming up upon tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com over the past couple years and I can see it. I actually wish performance enhancing drugs were allowed and regulated so it would be fair to the competitors… they’ve started cracking down on TRT in MMA and I’ve started to lose interesting in MMA because it’s caused so many suspensions and retirements.

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  4. (posted this on WestHunter already, but on a thread that had already died. Am reposting here if OK with you)

    I read that the rapid spread of AIDS was caused by a decline in traditional gay values. Before 1960 there was a clear division between active and passive gays. Many seemingly straight men were also active gays who secretly had sex with passive gays. This is still the case in some Islamic countries (e.g. Afghanistan). As disease spreads more effectively from the active to the passive partner than the reverse this meant that there was a barrier that limited transmission.

    What happened after the gay rights movement was that many gays became more fluid in
    their sexual identities and so were both buggerers and buggerees. It would be interesting to know how HIV has spread in countries that still have traditional gay values.

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    • Replies: @Scott Locklin
    That's a weird way of putting it, but, in fact, despite opiate use up the ying yang and pederasty and buggery being the national passtime: Afghanistan has an AIDS rate of 0.01%. One of the lowest in the world. Maybe it is because everyone dies of tuberculosis first, but I've always thought primitive cultures evolve their taboos and folkways for sound evolutionary reasons.
    , @Scott Locklin
    That’s a weird way of putting it, but, in fact, despite opiate use up the ying yang and pederasty and buggery being the national passtime: Afghanistan has an AIDS rate of 0.01%; second or third lowest in the world. I've always held that cultures which are closer to nature (aka no antibiotics) have folkways which are survival oriented. Good example.
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  5. The New York Times article, along with the oft-noted liberal infatuation with leftist dictators, is a reminder that liberals secretly yearn for an autocratic authority that will save them from themselves. What they hate about the US is that the authorities constantly cave in to their infantile demands. What they want is the freedom to scream and pout while adults in charge ignore them and do what’s necessary for our survival. They’re like spoiled children testing the limits.

    Lawrence Auster suspected that Europeans subconsciously yearn to live under the domination of Islam, because their nihilism has run its course. I think he was onto them.

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  6. Castro is a dictator? And a homophobe? I didn’t know that. I thought he was a “President” and just provided his country great healthcare.

    Of course, I only watch PBS.

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  7. Of course the Times article is premised on the assumption that a communist government is reporting accurate statistics about a sensitive topic. I’m not saying that such a thing is impossible; after all, there’s a first time for everything.

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  8. I though Haiti’s Aids epidemic was started by American gays vacationing there in the early ’80s.

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  9. @AKAHorace
    (posted this on WestHunter already, but on a thread that had already died. Am reposting here if OK with you)

    I read that the rapid spread of AIDS was caused by a decline in traditional gay values. Before 1960 there was a clear division between active and passive gays. Many seemingly straight men were also active gays who secretly had sex with passive gays. This is still the case in some Islamic countries (e.g. Afghanistan). As disease spreads more effectively from the active to the passive partner than the reverse this meant that there was a barrier that limited transmission.

    What happened after the gay rights movement was that many gays became more fluid in
    their sexual identities and so were both buggerers and buggerees. It would be interesting to know how HIV has spread in countries that still have traditional gay values.

    That’s a weird way of putting it, but, in fact, despite opiate use up the ying yang and pederasty and buggery being the national passtime: Afghanistan has an AIDS rate of 0.01%. One of the lowest in the world. Maybe it is because everyone dies of tuberculosis first, but I’ve always thought primitive cultures evolve their taboos and folkways for sound evolutionary reasons.

    Read More
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  10. @AKAHorace
    (posted this on WestHunter already, but on a thread that had already died. Am reposting here if OK with you)

    I read that the rapid spread of AIDS was caused by a decline in traditional gay values. Before 1960 there was a clear division between active and passive gays. Many seemingly straight men were also active gays who secretly had sex with passive gays. This is still the case in some Islamic countries (e.g. Afghanistan). As disease spreads more effectively from the active to the passive partner than the reverse this meant that there was a barrier that limited transmission.

    What happened after the gay rights movement was that many gays became more fluid in
    their sexual identities and so were both buggerers and buggerees. It would be interesting to know how HIV has spread in countries that still have traditional gay values.

    That’s a weird way of putting it, but, in fact, despite opiate use up the ying yang and pederasty and buggery being the national passtime: Afghanistan has an AIDS rate of 0.01%; second or third lowest in the world. I’ve always held that cultures which are closer to nature (aka no antibiotics) have folkways which are survival oriented. Good example.

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  11. This comment by our boss is entirely relevant only to the question of HIV/AIDS, and it would be madness to think that it could, by extrapolation, be extended to refer to any other sort of health crisis.

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  12. An older gay guy I knew once told me that, prior to the Gay Lib years of the ’60s and ’70s, buttfucking — sorry, anal sex — between gays was rare. Mostly they jerked each other off and gave each other blowjobs. According to him, it was the drugs and “liberation” craziness of the ’60s that was the real start of gays indulging in lots of promiscuous anal sex. FWIW, of course.

    Y’all who are interested in the early history of AIDS in this country might enjoy a blogposting I did at my old blog.

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  13. […] Source: Steve Sailer […]

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  14. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    Castro vs Castro quarter in San Fran.

    Castro’s totalitarian Negrophobia done save lots of black lives too.

    No rappers talking shit to the police over there.

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  15. “But maybe guys who volunteer for ground combat are less likely to bring back AIDS than other venereal diseases?”

    I’m sure that’s right, not a lot of gay Cuban soldiers being sodomised by Africans, but Africa is the one place where female to male AIDS transmission is/was said to be a significant factor – lorry drivers picking up AIDS from prostitutes, for instance, then spreading rapidly through the open sex networks typical in many African societies, where both men and women may have multiple concurrent sex partners.

    But it may be that that’s exaggerated, that most of those lorry drivers actually caught it through homosexual sex or drug injection, and that female African prostitutes are/were frequently victims of infection, but rarely transmitters.

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  16. Gnostic Liberalism could very well be at the equivalent stage of hedonistic pre-AIDS gay culture. Liberalism is now in a state of hysterical euphoria, punctuated by communal outbursts to identify scapegoats. Next in the cycle will be the day of reckoning (Ebola?), much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and doubling down. If the feminized West follows the same pattern as the gays there will be government controlled entities mimicking Act Up. Act Up militarized gays from decadent hedonism into professional fake victimization and aggressive attacks on opposition. In tandem, status-marking will ramp up. I remember going to a gallery opening in the early 90s where you were supposed to put on women’s high heel shoes. (For the record I didn’t but a hipster friend did.) Camille Paglia was there as I recall.

    Following my thesis, there will be hysterical clamoring for more effort to combat the Ebola virus while simultaneously importing more bat and monkey eaters, who will in turn smuggle “bushmeat.”

    But, as we all know, I’m being racist and paranoid.

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  17. By contrast, the response in the United States — which records 50,000 new infections every year — seems feeble. Millions of poor people never see a doctor. Testing is voluntary, and many patients do not return for their results.

    The people who complain about 50,000/annum AIDS infection rate are the same ones who prevented an over-the-counter AIDS test.

    You couldn’t find out on your own that you had a disease because you might swoon and kill yourself. You needed a doctor to “break it to you gently” and hand you a bunch of brochures on “safe sex”.

    Frankly, an OTC AIDS test is more beneficial to parents, children and lovers of the diseased. AIDS is hard to catch with P in V sex. Even anal sex has a per-act transmission risk of only 1.5%.

    Women, even after hooking up with a guy a few times, could check the spread of AIDS by simply asking the guy to take an OTC test. ANY hesitation on his part would tell her he was poking boys or junkies … and the word on his status WOULD get around.

    Which, of course is a major reason they cannot permit OTC AIDS tests: the AIDS “victim” would be “stigmatized”. Better he keep spreading AIDS for years until his body shuts down and he has to go see a doctor.

    Another major reason that drug companies, doctors and social workers are against OTC AIDS tests is because they make massive amounts of money per patient per year.

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  18. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    “but Africa is the one place where female to male AIDS transmission is/was said to be a significant factor – ”

    There haven’t been enough studies of this, but here is one (rather old):

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/146/4/350.full.pdf

    F-t-M is very inefficient. I don’t believe those “I got it from a prostitute, honey” stories. At least, not a female prostitute…..

    Meanwhile, let’s talk Ebola. If I were in the EZ, I’d GFTO by any means necessary. If I had a boat, I’d row. But planes are better. Right now, as we speak, there are thousands of infected people leaving the EZ. Liberia and S. Leone are controlling the egress? Tell me another sick joke.

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  19. Which of Occam’s knives should I use when thinking about Fidel Castro, illness, Cuban healthcare, Spanish medical doctor, application to America….?

    Butter knife, razor.

    Hmmm

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Which of Occam’s knives should I use…
    Butter knife, razor?
     
    I think Occam's spork works best here.
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  20. The population of Cuba is only slightly larger than that of New York City. In the three decades of the global AIDS epidemic, 78,763 New Yorkers have died of AIDS. Only 2,364 Cubans have.

    Uh, yeah, if you count the likes of Alvin Ailey, Howard Ashman, Perry Ellis and Way Bandy as “New Yorkers”. They chose Gotham over Guantánamo. Bit of selection bias there.

    Anyone have the figures on AIDS deaths by place of birth, rather than place of death?

    Dr. Gustavo Kourí, son of the institute’s founder…

    The top epidemiologists in Cuba have been Arabs? Carlos Menem, Carlos Slim, Abdalá Bucaram, Salma Hayak, Shakira– Latin Levantines sure can go far, can’t they?

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  21. @Kent Gatewood
    Which of Occam's knives should I use when thinking about Fidel Castro, illness, Cuban healthcare, Spanish medical doctor, application to America....?

    Butter knife, razor.

    Hmmm

    Which of Occam’s knives should I use…
    Butter knife, razor?

    I think Occam’s spork works best here.

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  22. I think we have to put a point in the Cuban health system’s column for making the common sense call.

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  23. “Bardem played a gay Cuban poet who has to flee homophobic Castroite Cuba for freedom in America, where he dies of AIDS.”
    What a punchline. Our world (read: Western Establishment) is so ass-backward.

    iSteve should be on every college student’s mandatory reading list, to be discussed in seminars, tested on and whatnot.

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