Further on Why the HIV and Other Viruses Are so Prevalent in Africa

James Michael Howard jmhoward at sprynet.com
Wed Sep 22 08:52:23 EST 1999

Further on Why the HIV and Other Viruses Are so Prevalent in Africa

James Michael Howard
Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.

Here, and at other boards, I hear the refrain that sexual practices and/or the
environment is/are the cause of increased HIV infection/AIDS in Africa.  Now, I
have suggested that increased testosterone in blacks is directly involved in the
increased impact of this epidemic in Africa ("Why the HIV is so Prevalent in
Africa).  (See my original post for explanation and citation support.)  Since
testosterone also increases sexual appetite, I think increased testosterone
increases exposure and vulnerability to the HIV in Africa.  In support of my
idea, and to refute that it is only increased sexual practice that increases the
HIV in Africa, I invite you to read the following findings from 1991.  This
article points out that sexual practices are common among "high-risk groups" and
non-high-risk groups, but that HIV infection remains high within the high-risk
groups.  In this case, there is a difference between those who get the HIV and
those who do not.  

"Although derived from independent samples and subject to different biases,
these three survey methods yielded a consistent pattern of HIV-1 epidemiology on
this campus, whereby the overall prevalence of infection was low and confined to
members of high-risk groups, despite the common occurrence of behaviors that
might facilitate sexual transmission of HIV-1 among many other students."
American Journal of Epidemiology 1991; 133: 2

I want to add that my idea also suggests that increased testosterone, and its
consequences on the immune system, may also explain why viruses such as the HIV,
Ebola, etc. first originate in Africa.  That is, these viruses enter human
populations whose overall immune systems are compromised and, therefore, more
vulnerable, and where hygiene and sexual practices further increase exposure to
the agents.

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