Tags: gay men / Ian Frazer / Ian Mackay / medical research / Melbourne / Ross Duncan / theories about the causes of AIDS / Walter & Eliza Hall Institute
Melbourne scientists have begun a two-year study of 100 homosexual volunteers to try to discover the link between homosexuality and the disease Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The project, announced yesterday, is being undertaken jointly by the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
The research will Involve a thorough study of the volunteers’ lifestyles, sexual habits, diet, drug use and any other factors that could conceivably affect their immune system.
A team led by a physician at the Hall Institute, Dr Ian Frazer, every four months will test the volunteers’ Immune system, measuring among other things a particular cell in the white blood corpuscles. The cell, called a “helper T lymphocyte”, plays a key role In the body’s Immune system and is found to be at abnormally low levels In AIDS sufferers. […]
Dr Mackay said that there were strong Indications that numerous homosexual encounters might progressively weaken the immune system In a way yet to be understood.
The research will Investigate whether homosexuality or promiscuity results in impairment of the body’s immune defence system which predisposes those affected to AIDS.
The researchers will also try to untangle the enigma of why homosexuals generally have shown a significantly higher incidence of mildly impaired immune function. […]
The volunteers for the project were recruited within a few weeks through a Melbourne private clinic which homosexuals attend.
A doctor at the clinic, who asked that be and the clinic not be identified for ethical reasons, said that there had been no difficulty finding volunteers for the project because of the widespread concern among homosexuals about AIDS.
Because of the hysteria which has troubled the treatment of AIDS patients, particularly in the United States, the Royal Melbourne Hospital has been quick to give assurances that staff and patients face no risk of AIDS infection.
The hospital’s acting medical director. Dr Ross Duncan, said that the usually stringent Infection control measures would be followed in treating volunteers and handling their blood samples.
Note: the article below describes theories about the causes of AIDS that have since been discredited.
Jul 6 1983