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October 10, 1990

Heterosexual AIDS: Myth or Epidemic?

Author Affiliations

Barnes St Peters (Mo) Hospital

Barnes St Peters (Mo) Hospital

JAMA. 1990;264(14):1807. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450140027012

To the Editor.—  Several observations by Dr Sherer about acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission through heterosexual contact1 are inaccurate.He expresses concern that "the continued slow but steady rise in heterosexually transmitted cases of AIDS in the United States has been represented as a myth" in Michael Fumento's recent book The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS.2 An inference is made there that heterosexual cases of AIDS acquired through sexual contact are increasing disproportionately, although the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control hardly seem to show this.3 Adult/adolescent cases of AIDS through heterosexual contact constitute only 5% of all US cases of AIDS to date and only 6% of those diagnosed in the last year. Fumento's book states that the myth is not that there is no heterosexual AIDS transmission but rather that there is epidemic heterosexual AIDS transmission, for which there