In Africa alone, AIDS kills some 6,000 people every day. While treatment must be made available for all who need it, some elements of the AIDS epidemic are likely exaggerated. Remember when Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called AIDS "the biggest threat to health this nation has ever faced." (Presumably bigger than cancer, heart disease, obesity, and smoking.) And when Oprah told her viewers: "Research studies now project that one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS..." It seemed as if no one was safe, not even non-drug users, straight men, or housewives.
But the truth is that HIV isn't nearly as easy to spread through heterosexual sex as many people think. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, men almost never get HIV from women. A healthy man who has unprotected sex with a non drug-using woman has a one in 5 million chance of getting HIV. If he wears a condom, the odds drop to one in 50 million. And though it's easier for men to infect women, the odds that an HIV-positive man will transmit the virus to a woman through sex are less than one in 1,000.