How does Mr. Kennedy justify his statement attributing the cause of AIDS to "a gay lifestyle" and the use of alkyl nitrites, or poppers, rather than acknowledging HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) as the primary cause?

Mr. Kennedy does not believe that alkyl nitrites – which are immunosuppressants –  are the sole cause of AIDS. However, the evidence is strong that they were a significant factor in the disease progression for the first AIDS victims of the early 1980s. He understands that most gay people have a lifestyle not so different from heterosexual people. For the specific subculture that used large amounts of drugs, he believes the lifestyle contributed to their susceptibility to AIDS. 

  1. Amyl Nitrite and Kaposi’s Sarcoma in Homosexual Men” (1982). New England Journal of Medicine, 307(14), 893–894. doi:10.1056/nejm19820930307141 [66]
  2. Use of 'Poppers' Linked To Kaposi's Sarcoma” (1985). Washington Post. [67]
  3. New AIDS Research Stirs Concern Over ‘Poppers’” 1986. LA Times [68]
  4. Research shows ‘poppers’ use is connected with infection among MSM” (2004). Relias Media [69]
  5. Poppers use should be target for gay men's HIV prevention” 2007. AIDS Map [70]
  6. Nitrate inhalants (poppers) associated with increased virus-associated cancer risk in HIV-uninfected MSM” 2017. Clinical Advisor [71]


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