By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com January 06 2012 11:00 PM ET
Bryan Fischer, the head of the American Family Association, is not only virulently antigay, he’s joined the ranks of HIV deniers.
Fischer, in a column published on the AFA website Thursday, states his belief that HIV does not cause AIDS. Instead, he believes the condition we know as AIDS is caused by overuse of recreational drugs, particularly those associated with casual sex, which is one of the theories put forth by controversial scientist Peter Duesberg, who appeared on Fischer’s radio show this week.
“Duesberg’s answer can be found in one word: drugs,” Fischer writes. “And specifically, drug use connected with the kind of sex that is far too common in the homosexual community. While the average heterosexual has somewhere between seven to 14 sexual partners in a lifetime, it is not uncommon for homosexuals to have hundreds, even thousands, of sexual partners.”
Duesberg, despite having theories that are out of the mainstream, has frequently said he is not antigay. Fischer, however, makes many antigay statements when he asserts that HIV is harmless and that its association with AIDS is merely a ploy to get funding for virological research and treatment. After saying Duesberg admits his drug hypothesis needs more research to back it up, Fischer writes:
“Why can’t he get funding for such research? Easy. If AIDS is behaviorally induced, then the solution is simple: stop the behavior. If using amyl nitrites is the cause, then stop using amyl nitrites. If men having sex with men is the cause ... then tell men to stop having sex with other men. If shooting up with needles is the cause, then stop shooting up.”
Fischer continues, “HIV does not cause AIDS. So let’s immediately stop spending billions of dollars trying to kill a harmless microbe. And secondly, let’s tell homosexuals to stop sleeping with other men, stop using poppers, and stop shooting up.”
Fischer also claims that if HIV causes AIDS, former basketball star Magic Johnson, who just marked the 20th anniversary of his HIV diagnosis, should be expected “to be a withered, shriveled version of his former self.” However, as The American Independent points out, Johnson’s good health is most likely the result of antiretroviral drugs — which would undermine another of Duesberg’s claims, that these prescription drugs “are toxic and kill more people than HIV itself does.” (On his radio show Fischer mistakenly said Johnson had an AIDS diagnosis, not HIV, but corrected himself in the column.)
Fischer’s homophobic organization has ties to some high-profile politicians. Last year it participated in a prayer rally with Texas governor Rick Perry, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Its founder, Donald Wildmon, who is retired from the group, has endorsed Newt Gingrich in that race (Fischer, on the other hand, has been critical of Gingrich).