Tuesday, January 25, 2005
A major impediment to prevention in the US is the belief, particularly among African-Americans, that HIV/AIDS is a government-created conspiracy against the poor and against blacks. I've heard this idea espoused from a number of people - many of them otherwise sensible friends and co-workers - and it does not ever cease to piss me off. Not just because the first community really affected by HIV was gay men, about whom many of these conspiracy theorists seem all to happy to forget, but also because it's a bloody stupid thing to say. We *still* don't have the technology to create anything like HIV, to be sure we didn't have it in the 1970's. I could go on, but it's probably unnecessary.
One reason for the persistence of this conspiracy theory is that it wouldn't be the first time the US government had done something appalling to its citizens without telling them about it. And memory, as we know, is a powerful thing. Which is not a very good reason to believe things that simply aren't possible, but it is a weak segue into a fascinating overview of new research into the molecular basis of memory in yesterday's Scientific American.