The Bangui Definition
In 1985, the World Health Organization called a meeting in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, to define African AIDS. The meeting was presided over by CDC official Joseph McCormick.
He wrote about it in his book "Level 4 Virus Hunters of the CDC," saying, "If I could get everyone at the WHO meeting in Bangui to agree on a single, simple definition of what an AIDS case was in Africa, then, imperfect as the definition might be, we could actually start counting the cases..." The result was that African AIDS would be defined by physical symptoms:
fever, diarrhea, weight loss and coughing or itching. ("AIDS in Africa: an epidemiological paradigm." Science, 1986).
In Sub-Saharan Africa, about 60 percent of the population lives and dies without safe drinking water, adequate food or basic sanitation. A September, 2003 report in the Ugandan Daily "New Vision" outlined the
situation in Kampala, a city of approximately 1.3 million inhabitants, which, like most tropical countries, experiences seasonal flooding. The report describes "heaps of unclaimed garbage" among the crowded houses in the flood zones and "countless pools of water [that] provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and create a dirty environment that favors
"Latrines are built above water streams. During rains the area residents usually open a hole to release feces from the latrines. The rain then washes away the feces to streams, from where the [area residents] fetch
However, not many people have access to toilet facilities. Some defecate in polythene bags, which they throw into the stream." They call these, "flying toilets."
The state-run Ugandan National Water and Sewerage Corporation states that currently 55 percent of Kampala is provided with treated water, and only 8 percent with sewage reclamation.
Most rural villages are without any sanitary water source. People wash clothes, bathe and dump untreated waste up and down stream from where
water is drawn. Watering holes are shared with animal populations, which drink, bathe, urinate and defecate at the water source. Unmanaged human waste pollutes water with infectious and often deadly bacteria.
Stagnant water breeds mosquitoes, which bring malaria. Infectious diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, TB, malaria and famine are the top killers in Africa.
But in 1985, these conditions defined AIDS.
Do Condoms Protect Against Small Viruses?
The use of condoms is widely recommended to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including those caused by such viruses as herpes simplex, hepatitis B, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The efficacy of condoms in these circumstances, however, is unknown. The water-leak test used to ensure the integrity of condoms can detect holes as small as 3 to 4 m in diameter, but sexually transmitted viruses are much smaller, with diameters of 0.04 to 0.15 m. A previous study demonstrated that about one third of condoms tested allowed penetration of HIV-sized polystyrene spheres.
Editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, Dr. C. Michael Roland of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C., spoke about his
research on "intrinsic flaws" in latex rubber condoms and surgical gloves (published in Rubber World, June, 1993).
Roland said that what I am about to relate is "common knowledge among good scientists who have no political agenda."
Electron microscopy reveals the HIV virus to be about O.1 microns in size (a micron is a millionth of a metre). It is 60 times smaller than a syphilis bacterium, and 450 times smaller than a single human sperm.
The standard U.S. government leakage test (ASTM) will detect water leakage
through holes only as small as 10 to 12 microns (most condoms sold in Canada are made in the U.S.A., but I'll mention the Canadian test below).
Roland says in good tests based on these standards, 33% of all condoms tested allowed HIV-sized particles through, and that "spermicidal agents such as nonoxonol-9 may actually ease the passage."
Roland's paper shows electron microscopy photos of natural latex. You can see the natural holes, or intrinsic flaws. The "inherent defects in
natural rubber range between 5 and 70 microns."
And it's not as if governments don't know. A study by Dr. R.F. Carey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that "leakage of HIV-sized
particles through latex condoms was detectable for as many as 29 of 89 condoms tested." These were brand new, pre-approved condoms. But Roland says a closer reading of Carey's data actually yields a 78% HIV-leakage rate, and concludes: "That the CDC would promote condoms based on [this] study...suggests its agenda is concerned with something other than public health and welfare."
The federal government's standard tests, he adds, "cannot detect flaws even 70 times larger than the AIDS virus." Such tests are "blind to leakage volumes less tha one microliter - yet this quantity of fluid from an AIDS-infected individual has been found to contain as many as 100,000 HIV particles."
As one U.S. surgeon memorably put it, "The HIV virus can go through a condom like a bullet through a tennis net."
It's the same story with latex gloves. Gloves from four different manufacturers revealed "pits as large as 15 microns wide and 30 microns
deep." More relevant to HIV transmission, "5 micron-wide channels, penetrating the entire thickness were found in all the gloves." He said
the presence of such defects in latex "is well established."
For Canada, the story is the same. A standard Health and Welfare Canada test of condoms manufactured between 1987 and 1990, based on stringent tests of pressure, leakage, and volume (as in the U.S., there is no effort to examine micron-level leakage), reported that an astonishing 40% of the condoms tested failed at least one of the tests. Tests in 1991 showed an
"improved" 28% rate.