In his December 31 nationally syndicated column, which the Washington Times published January 5 as a "Commentary" column, economist Thomas Sowell claimed that rather than marriage rights, what "homosexual activists" really desire is "the stamp of acceptance on homosexuality, as a means of spreading that lifestyle, which has become a deathstyle in the AIDS era."
Sowell continued: "They have already succeeded to a remarkable degree in our public schools, where so-called 'AIDS education' or other pious titles are put on programs that promote homosexuality."
He also wrote that homosexual activists have received "special privilege" through equal-rights claims because "[t]hey have already got far more government money earmarked for AIDS than for other diseases that kill far more people."
Contrary to Sowell's suggestion that AIDS exclusively afflicts homosexuals, the United States' AIDS epidemic has increasingly affected heterosexuals over the past 15 years, while the rate of HIV infection among homosexuals has declined, along with the overall infection rate. According to a study ("HIV in the United States at the Turn of the Century: An Epidemic in Transition") published in the July 2001 American Journal of Public Health, the rates of HIV incidence among homosexual men had decreased during the 1990s, while the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at the same time increasingly affecting heterosexual men and women. According to the study:
The number of new AIDS diagnoses increased from 1990 through 1992, followed by a decline from 1993 through 1999.
Compared with [AIDS] diagnoses made during 1990, the proportion of all diagnoses made during 1999 was substantially smaller for Whites, MSM [men who have sex with men], and female IDUs [injection drug users]; the proportion was substantially larger for African Americans, residents of the South, and both men and women infected through heterosexual contact.