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Anti-Gay Laws Lead to Higher HIV Rates, And 4 Other Studies Leading to Fake Conclusions

On Monday, the UN AIDS agency released a study claiming “HIV infections are increasing among homosexuals” in countries that have laws criminalizing homosexuality (like China, Kenya and Malawi). And while we’re all for exposing how anti-gay laws harm everyone, the UN study didn’t acknowledge that there have also been HIV increases in countries like Thailand which have become more gay-friendly over the last decade. Though well-intentioned, the UN report was incomplete and incorrect, and can lead lazy reporters and bloggers (like us!) to jump to incorrect conclusions, like how criminalizing homosexuality automatically leads to increased HIV rates. While it may play a role in the larger picture, you can’t hop directly from A to B here. It was just one of five recent ghey studies that allowed some ridiculous conclusion jumping.

The UN/AIDS study focused on at-risk groups in anti-gay countries. We get that. And we’re not saying these studies shouldn’t be conducted; they should. But correlation doesn’t equal causation, and journalists should question data and methodology before repeating faulty conclusions about current research. That being said, check out which four other erroneous studies made us twitch in disapproval. Which this website has reported on.

    • j

      Good article queerty :)

      Apr 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey

      So our editor who can’t proofread (e.g., spelling and grammar) did pick something up in college.

      Apr 1, 2010 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex

      Oh, please! Put your oversized-ego-powered-god-damn-journalistic-integrity aside. Anything that could keep innocent people from being arrested/killed is a good thing…

      Apr 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UMB

      A well informed and written article on Queerty… this must be an April Fools joke…

      Apr 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      No. 4 · UMB wrote, “A well informed and written article on Queerty… this must be an April Fools joke…” … you mean the part that said, “Buchanan may have been able to keep “Aunt Fancy” under the radar back in 1957 but he was most certainly not openly gay when he ran.”

      QUEERTY was off by 100 years (Buchanan started his term in 1857, but of course the presidential campaign was in 1856). I’d imagine it was a typo (the ‘9’ being next to the ‘8’ on a keyboard) but there is obviously a proof-reading problem.

      Apr 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brandon

      “But correlation doesn’t equal causation”

      Indeed. Correlation does NOT equal causation. Now if only people would retain that knowledge when they are tempted to claim that condomless sex or BB porn are responsible for HIV.

      If a study did come out saying that cut men transmitted HIV less often than uncut men, could you imagine all the dumb guys who’d say, “It’s OK if we don’t use a condom, I’m cut”?

      “OK” is relative. Like it or not, those “dumb” guys would actually be acting on the same principle of “negotiated risk”, as that individuals relying a a condom while having sex with someone that has HIV to transmit. There IS that that third option of not taking the risk at all, which most people refuse….so think before you attempt to judge.

      Apr 1, 2010 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B

      What the AP article that QUEERTY linked to ( http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hUkW5ADocOfpj9wOTCUJgpmZBD4wD9EFGT6O0 ) stated is, “New HIV infections are increasing among homosexuals, drug users and prostitutes who don’t seek help because of laws that criminalize these practices, the head of the U.N. AIDS agency said Monday.”

      Note the phrase, “who don’t seek help”. Michel Sidibe is saying that laws criminalizing various practices are preventing people from getting medical help, presumably including diagnostic tests, because they don’t want to get caught. It doesn’t state that this is the only factor that can make things worse.

      Apr 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sammy

      So…blame a factually accurate report for lazy bloggers/reporting? The report isn’t the issue…people making the leap from A to B are the issue.

      Apr 2, 2010 at 8:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tessie Tura

      Anyone who’s ever fooled around in Atlanta would know that Georgia would NOT be among the blue.

      Apr 2, 2010 at 9:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike

      Ummm … Queerty, you don’t exactly have a 100% track record in accuracy with regard to your reporting. I think I’ll leave the analysis of academic study to academics, thanks.

      Apr 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hephaestion

      Why doesn’t Queerty proofread its postings? And why does Queerty even fail to correct its errors (e.g., 1957 instead of 1857) when the errors have been pointed out? It’s quite embarrassing for Gaydom’s Premier Website to be riddled with typos and errors.

      Apr 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ohpba

      “in countries that have laws criminalizing homosexuality (like China, Kenya and Malawi)”

      Homosexuality is not criminalized in China since 1997.

      Apr 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lamar

      Queertys right those who support gay marriage know that it won’t directly affect them so they don’t really bother to vote but those on the other side think it will directly affect them and that children will suffer so they do go out and vote. The re should be some way to make voting easier or we will be beaten again by those who want to stop our ‘agenda’.

      Apr 6, 2010 at 5:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve

      Like you, I tend to notice errors in many publications. But, I also have an appreciation for the difficulty of proof-reading. One of the hardest things to do is to proof-read your own stuff. If you have ever proof-read your own post ten times before pushing the “submit” button, only to notice an obvious error immediately afterward, you know exactly what I mean.

      Most dead-tree newspapers and all academic journals have multiple levels of proof-reading, so that every sentence is proof-read by several different people whose only job is to find errors before being published. And, even with multiple dedicated proof readers, some errors do get published. A web site with a small staff, short deadlines and no dedicated proof-readers cannot hope to catch every error before publication.

      I expect the quality level will work itself out over time. One of the things that will distinguish the “better” companies in the market will be a reduced frequency of errors. I doubt any rapid-cycle publication will ever have a zero error rate.

      Apr 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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