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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Carry on up the Khyber

the fatal price of anal intercourse…

In December 1985 when the AIDS scare was at its height, the science journal Discover ran a major special report entitled “AIDS: the latest scientific facts” authored by veteran science writer, John Langone with contributions from Sana Siwolop. The report, naturally, decried “homophobia” and lamented the social costs involved in the spread of HIV but its main focus was on presenting a historical and clinical account of the disease based on medical and scientific research. The article examined the causes and the sexual practices that facilitated the spread of HIV/AIDS. In furtherance of this aim the text was augmented by extensive colour medical illustrations that highlighted why certain parts of the human anatomy were not suited to particular sexual practices because of the inherent risk of trauma, which in turn eased the way for the spread of the AIDS virus into the body.

In many ways the Discover special report was something of an anomaly. For the first and probably last time a well known and reputable mainstream publication, openly criticized the practice of anal intercourse - even if on purely medical/scientific grounds with no moralizing overtones. Ever after this topic seems to have been banished from most discussions of AIDS. The sexual practices of homosexual and bisexual men thereafter seemed to play only a minor role in the AIDS crisis, the “real” cause seemingly to be laid at the feet of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” to kill-off gays.

Effectively one of the major sexual practices of homosexuals - anal intercourse - ceased to be of concern to anyone in the fields of social policy, social welfare or medicine. The curtain of political correctness descended and the guilt was - after the aforementioned vast right-wing conspiracy - laid at the feet of the education system for not teaching kids how to have “safe sex”.

The entire population of the western world was thus subjected to a media blitz in which everyone, regardless of sexual “orientation” or practice was threatened with extinction if they engaged in any and every form of “unprotected” sexual contact. The figure of the Grim Reaper was infamously the star attraction of a series of AIDS advertisements across Australia, and all other western countries had their own campaigns warning heterosexuals that they were next because “AIDS doesn’t discriminate… only people do.” Of course the truth was actually the complete reverse of the slogans.

And for a brief moment in the December 1985 issue of Discover (pp 36-53) the facts were laid bare without the least fear of violating the sacred tenets of “tolerance” and political correctness. The cover of the magazine boldly proclaimed:
Contrary to what you’ve heard, AIDS isn’t a threat to the vast majority of heterosexuals or a peril to humanity. It is - and is likely to remain - largely the fatal price one can pay for anal intercourse.

On page 41 it stated:
AIDS is a sexually transmissible disease almost only in the sense that it can be transmitted by anal intercourse.

On the same page is an illustrated spread showing “why AIDS is likely to remain largely a gay disease” in which the following points are made:
The AIDS virus is borne in blood and semen, and heterosexuals are virtually risk free.

The Vulnerable Rectum
The rectum, the lower portion of the large intestine that ends in the anus, is lined with fragile, easily invaded columnar cells. Moreover, the closer to the anus, the more blood vessels there are. Anal intercourse, second only to oral sex in frequency among homosexuals, can tear the lining, allowing AIDS virus infected semen ready entry to the blood stream. This sexual practice is the
commonest cause of AIDS.

The Fragile Urethra
The urethra, the thin tube leading from the bladder through the penis, is also mostly lined with columnar cells, with numerous underlying blood vessels. During anal intercourse with an AIDS-infected partner, the virus can pass from the rectum into the urethra, where it is able to penetrate the delicate walls.

The Rugged Vagina
Unlike the rectum, the vagina Is designed to withstand the trauma of intercourse as well as birth. Its lining is composed of layers of plate-like squamous cells that resist rupture and infectious agents, presumably including the AIDS virus. Its tissue has fewer blood vessels and is usually naturally lubricated during intercourse.

The main text elaborated upon these points in all their gory detail:

Anal sex is an essential element in the AIDS story… AIDS is a bloodborne disease that in most cases strikes, and will continue to strike, homosexual and bisexual males who have been the receptive partners in anal sex, a practice that tears the delicate lining of the rectum and allows the AIDS virus easy entry into the body's circulatory system.

... "Current modes of transmission will remain stable, and sexual transmission of the virus will account for the vast majority of cases in the United States for many years to come. Homosexual men and persons who abuse intravenously administered drugs will remain at extraordinary risk for AIDS. The disease will probably become the major cause of death in these populations." …

Although heterosexual men and women who aren't intravenous drug users or recipients of blood or blood products still represent only about one per cent of U.S. AIDS cases, some scientists have made flimsy cases for the imminent spread of the disease into the heterosexual population. They've cited vague and unverifiable statistics about men who've contracted AIDS from female prostitutes, and made reference to the high incidence of the disease among purported heterosexuals in central Africa, while, ignoring, the likelihood that these AIDS victims have secretly indulged in socially scorned homosexual practices, used unsterile needles, or undergone ritual scarification and tattooing.

…Sodomy, in this case anal sex, is an alternative to vaginal intercourse, of which the best-seller The Joy of Sex observes, - "This is something which nearly every couple tries once." [Really?] It's also common practice among homosexuals…

Even The Joy of Sex, which bills itself as the "Cordon Bleu Guide to Lovemaking", sees danger in anal sex: "Unlike almost any other common sex practice, this one does have drawbacks. Usually the first try is painful, and while this may go away with practice, it certainly won't if you have hemorrhoids; it can cause injury, as the area wasn't designed for that, and extreme gentleness on the man's part is needed-anal rape, even of a willing victim, is accordingly out."

Anatomical drawings of the rectum and the vagina show clearly why the rectum is far more susceptible to a blood-carried infection like AIDS. The inside of the vagina is made up of multiple layers of squamous cells that provide a fairly effective armor against infective agents. Also, heterosexual intercourse doesn't usually rupture the thick vaginal walls to allow a virus like AIDS easy access to the blood stream.

The inside of the rectum is another story. It's lined with columnar cells, which are more easily damaged and invaded by infective agents. Also, the rectum is more susceptible to tiny abrasions because it, like the rest of the digestive tract, is rich in blood capillaries that absorb nutrients from food. Thrusting an erect penis into the rectum, even after using a lubricant, can devastate the cellular layer, opening enough tears to allow easy passage of a virus in ejaculated semen to enter the blood stream.

That saliva is occasionally used as a lubricant in anal intercourse compounds the risk. "With our identification of HTLV-III in saliva, we propose that this might be a second route of transmission of the virus during anal intercourse," hematologist Jerome Groopman of New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston reported recently. Other practices involving the anus have also undoubtedly contributed to the AIDS outbreak among homosexuals. Fisting, for example, is an extremely dangerous… homosexual activity in which first heavily greased fingers, then a fist are inserted into the rectum; the trauma is severe, as blood vessels rupture and tiny cuts are made in the rectal lining by fingernails. Dildos, or artificial penises, can, like fisting, prepare the way for an AIDS infection if a rectum damaged by them is then subjected to anal intercourse.

Hemorrhoids, which plague many homosexuals and may be caused by the repeated -insertion of an object into the anus, are blood-swollen capillaries in the lower area of the rectum; when they rupture and bleed, as they often do, the AIDS virus has a pathway in. Even the seemingly precautionary practice of douching before anal sex is dangerous, because it kills off protective bacteria in the anus.

While the receptive partner in anal sex is generally considered to be at greater risk, some specialists warn that anal intercourse is a two-way street. Let's get rid of this misconception once and for all," says gastroenterologist Donald Kotler of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York. "The active partner in anal sex also stands a good chance of catching the disease." The penis, says Kotler, is fragile. Unlike the vagina, which has layer upon layer of lubricated cells built to withstand scraping, the urethra of the penis is coated with a delicate layer of mucosal cells that are easily invaded during anal sex. "It's pretty well established that the active partner in anal sex could transmit the AIDS virus if he were to abrade the rectum of his partner," Kotler says, "but you've also got to look at what his partner may be doing to him. If the passive partner were to bleed from the rectum onto the penis of the man doing the entering, then the active partner could have just as good a chance of contracting AIDS."

Beyond the fact that lesions in the rectum enhance the chances of AIDS infection, says Kotler, anal sex appears in a more subtle way to be an extraordinarily efficient means of spreading the disease. This is because of the types of immune cells found in the rectum and the variety of viruses that live in them. The colon, says Kotler, "is a filthy environment that needs constant surveillance from immune cells to keep foreign stuff out of the body.”…

AIDS may also be passed along during oral sex if infected semen is ejaculated into the mouth. It's not the virus making its way into the intestinal tract that poses the risk-presumably it would be inactivated in the stomach by bacterial enzymes-but its getting into lesions in the mouth, such as sores or bleeding gums. A person fighting a gum infection or flu is more at risk…

Summing up Discover notes:
“If AIDS is going to spread heterosexually, it will do so primarily through the enormous pool of heroin addicts, male and female, and not through conventional sexual contacts between ‘straight’ men and women.”

Nearly 20 years later these remain the facts about AIDS. The moral of the story is that whether you are gay or straight, male or female, healthwise it is extremely foolharldy to let someone stick their penis, or any other object, up your anus.

11:26:00 pm