(CNSNews.com) - In a startling admission, the head of a major homosexual activist group said HIV/AIDS is a "gay disease."
The comments were made last Friday at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's (NGLTF) national conference in Detroit by Executive Director Matt Foreman.
"Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi (sexual), we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease," Foreman told his audience. "We have to own that and face up to that."
Conservative organizations that work on the HIV/AIDS issue say they are shocked.
"Foreman's comments are a dramatic departure from the long-standing strategic and rhetorical orthodoxy of the homosexual 'rights' movement, which in the past has heatedly objected to any such characterization by critics of its political agenda," said Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan.
Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, called the admission "refreshing."
For decades, he said, homosexual activists have excoriated anyone who even implied that HIV/AIDS was a disease largely affecting homosexuals. Even the late homosexual journalist Randy Shilts was attacked in the early '80s - when AIDS was first recognized - for referring to the condition as GRID, or "gay-related immune deficiency."
"Because of their war on semantics and being in such denial and not focusing on the reality of the dangers of their behaviors, many people have contracted the disease," Barber told Cybercast News Service.
"Who knows how many lives could have been saved had homosexual activists been honest about the dangers of the lifestyle they choose to engage in," he added.
Indeed, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force lambasted the Bush administration in 2003 for nominating Jerry Thacker to the President's Council on HIV/AIDS. Thacker was forced to withdraw from the nomination, because he supposedly called AIDS "the gay plague."
Thacker, who said he never referred to AIDS as "a gay plague," told Cybercast News Service that he was the target of a politically motivated smear campaign by homosexual activists.
"We've said for a long time now that HIV in this country is a behavioral disease, that you don't have to get it, that if you do engage in risky activities you run the risk of getting it, and that it really has little to do with your sexual preferences," Thacker said.
In fact, HIV is an equal-opportunity disease, he added.
"If by saying that the disease is primarily 'a gay disease,' this is an admission that their sexual practices are more likely to get the disease from one person to another. Then homosexuals are owning up to something that we've known for a long time," Thacker said.
Ironically, the heterosexual Thacker acquired HIV/AIDS from his wife, who had a blood transfusion in 1984, before the blood supply was safeguarded. Thacker, his wife, and his daughter have HIV/AIDS.
The NGLTF's admission, meanwhile, has rocked the homosexual activist community. One homosexual activist, Todd Heywood, told the Lansing State Journal the story was likely to gain traction in coming days and weeks.
"When leaders of the right-wing claim HIV/AIDS (is) a gay disease, we all balk at that claim," Heywood said. "But what happens when a national gay leader says it?"
Foreman has since clarified that he wasn't saying that AIDS is a gay disease worldwide, but it is in the United States.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, 70 percent of all cases of HIV occur among men who have sex with other men (MSMs), people who are bisexual, or those who inject illegal drugs with infected needles.
Conservatives like Barber, meanwhile, are calling on other homosexual groups to publicly acknowledge the truth and for groups like the National Education Association to stop promoting the homosexual lifestyle in public schools.
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