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Social Issues: Letters


Blowing the whistle

"The wrong way to worry about AIDS" (editorial, March 12) was certainly the wrong way to write about AIDS. That the disease can be spread by heterosexual acts is well established. All that is needed for an epidemic is entry into a promiscuous population.

The disease in Africa is spreading heterosexually with a very high rate among prostitutes. To claim that AIDS in North America will remain a plague of homosexuals and drug users amounts to journalistic malpractice. The lie is revealed in your own words, "The sad if consoling truth is that AIDS still casts a narrow shadow: on homosexual and bisexual men, intravenous drug users and their partners " (emphasis added).

To allay fears about spread by casual contact is reasonable, but any attempt to rescue the sexual revolution is irresponsible. You may argue that the percentages in Masters and Johnson's study are not representative but any inroad into the general population will eventually mushroom unless behaviors change. All the numbers have been increasing with alarming regularity.

Perhaps by blowing the whistle, Masters and Johnson are trying to atone for their previous contribution to the problem by reporting "what is" to a culture that believes "whatever is right." What kind of retraction will you print in 1998?

Ross S. Olson, M.D., Minneapolis.

Published in Star Tribune 3/28/1988

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