AIDS Drug Maker Sponsors 'Gay Pride' Promotion
(CNSNews.com) - The world's largest supplier of AIDS-fighting drugs is sponsoring a Gay Pride Month guide, creating a paradox, some say, by endorsing the homosexual behavior that can be a leading contributor to the spread of HIV in the U.S.
For the first time, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is backing the nationwide celebrations with the "Pride Guide 2001," a listing of events posted on the Web site of the homosexual newsmagazine The Advocate.
"It's interesting," said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition. "They are the producers of the very drugs people take to try to reduce the side effects of AIDS."
Lafferty claimed GlaxoSmithKline's marketing move is a cave-in to "corporate blackmail," - pressure from the homosexual community to support Gay Pride events or face boycotts.
Furthermore, she contemplated the company's motives, wondering if GlaxoSmithKline is indirectly contributing to the AIDS epidemic and creating a larger market for its popular drugs.
"These pharmaceutical companies know there will forever be money to be made on the AIDS issue," Lafferty said.
But GlaxoSmithKline vehemently dismissed such claims, and a company official called it absurd to associate homosexuality with AIDS.
"I make no connection between gay pride and HIV," said company spokesman Michael Joyner, who is openly homosexual. "I don't think the lifestyle has anything to do with AIDS. I think you would have to look to Africa to find [causes of AIDS]."
GlaxoSmithKline, which employs more than 100,000 people globally, reported surging first-quarter sales in April, with a nearly 20-percent growth rate for its prescription AIDS drugs in the U.S.
Part of the concern is fueled by critics who claim they have documented evidence that homosexual events often promote sexual behavior that can help spread HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
While not accusing GlaxoSmithKline of consciously "trying to drum up business," the American Family Association says it warns businesses of endorsing homosexuality because of its relationship with AIDS.
"We don't think you can divorce those two things," spokesman Ed Vitagliano said. "If you promote that lifestyle, you're going to promote increased disease rates and promote death."