Because you can be politically correct and do a great disservice.
Suppose a prestigious medical journal published an issue on the negative health consequences of smoking, but rather than encouraging smokers to quit, the authors explained that health refers not only to the absence of disease, but also the possibility of a safe and pleasurable smoking experience. In addition, the journal blamed the health problems of smokers not on their inability to quit, but on social and legal discrimination against smoking.
Of course, this is absurd. In fact, in Aug. of 2012 issue of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet an article on tobacco use concluded that “efforts to prevent initiation and promote cessation of tobacco use are needed to reduce associated morbidity and mortality.” However, just three weeks earlier the same journal published a series of articles which, rather than addressing the cause of the continuing epidemic of HIV among MSM (men who have sex with men), blamed the morbidity on social discrimination.
One of the societal marvels of the Black Death during the Middle Ages, I believe, was the fact that during times of pestilence, your position in the hierarchy of society meant nothing. I can imagine that a peasant seeing his lord or his lady thrown from the death cart into a communal pit of corpses, covered in boils, had a startling effect - their wealth and influence had no effect against the scourge. The plague truck indiscriminately, without regard for its victim.
Such is the nature of disease. Of course, the issue during the medieval era was that neither rich nor poor engaged in adequate sanitary conditions to keep disease at bay and so everyone had the opportunity to fall ill and die. The "pocket full of posies" and other quaint preventative measures did little to help those with access to such "modern" medicine.
And over the years we learned more about disease. It took awhile, though. Fr. Damien landed in the 1860's in Molokai to establish his mission to the lepers who had been exiled to that island, dying of the disease himself; now treatment comes at an outpatient clinic. Typhoid Mary remained in quarantine on an island in New York's East River from 1914 to 1938, when she died, as a notorious carrier of typhus; we administer drugs now and can prevent it.
So for these advances in preventing fatal communicable diseases, we seem to reversing course with HIV/AIDS. We are not uneducated as to the cause of the epidemic.
The articles clearly describe the causes of increase: MSM, who socialize in networks where the infection rate is high, continue to engage in AI [anal intercourse] with multiple casual partners, often while using various illegal drugs, thus exposing themselves to infection. According to the articles, MSM’s behavior exposes them not only to HIV, but also to syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex, human papillomavirus, viral hepatitis, enteric pathogens, and MRSA. MSM are also far more likely to be depressed, experience suicidal ideation, panic disorders, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, and body image concerns.
So if conduct - such as emptying chamber pots into the streets, as was done in the Middle Ages - helped to spread a particular disease, efforts should be made to curb it, yes? In California, municipalities have even taken steps to ban smoking in public parks and on beaches, and in housing, so "deadly" is the effect of second-hand smoke.
But not indiscriminate sex.
Rather than admitting the current strategy’s failure and encouraging proven common-sense public health strategies, several articles in the The Lancet blame ‘homophobia,’ ‘heteronormativity,’ stigma, and discrimination for the continuing epidemic among MSM, but there is no evidence to support such a claim.
Remember that peasant watching the dead be taken away and seeing his family, nobility, clerics, and all walks of life thrown upon the death cart? As stated, disease knows nothing about homophobia, self-esteem, or even income. You might expect in modern times that a higher socio-economic status would mean better education and be a prevention. But no:
HIV prevalence rates in these men [MSM] seem to have increased in the HAART era…. in settings where MSM have full access to HAART [highly active anti-retroviral therapy] and to a broad range of HIV services, civil liberties, and organized and visible community structures.
Recently, singer Elton John stated that one of the biggest battles in the fight against AIDS is "stigma." But I think he may be misplacing it. He assumes that people who fall outside the "usual suspects" - gay men, intravenous drug users, prostitutes - treat those who are HIV-positive like lepers back in the day. On the contrary, I think most people understand now what causes HIV/AIDS and do not shun a person with such. But there is a stigma, and it is against anyone who dares to suggest that a change in behavior can help prevent HIV/AIDS, because such a person is a bigot, is a hater, and does not respect the "rights" of a gay man to express his sexuality.
Because the agenda means more than lives. And it has insinuated itself into a medical journal. I have to laugh at those who fear that religious thought, like creationism, is a threat to "sound scientific theory," because here is where political correctness will stymie science and medicine.