TOP News

US: Fact check: False claim that sexually transmitted diseases were made in a lab

Fact Check: Did Russian Media Footage Prove Ukraine Faked War Casualties?

  Fact Check: Did Russian Media Footage Prove Ukraine Faked War Casualties? Russia's flagship state TV channel has been accused of mislabelling footage to accuse Ukraine of "faking" alleged mass killings of Ukrainians by Russian forces.The Claim

The claim: These STDs were made in a lab and can be easily eliminated from the body

Sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prenvetion.

But a post on social media claims those diseases are more easily treated than generally thought.

Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

"Aids, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, recurrent vaginal infections and any other diseases that they made in the lab can be easily eliminated from the body," reads a Jan. 11 Facebook post. "Alot (sic) of healers know that for a fact."

What the media needs to get right in the next pandemic

  What the media needs to get right in the next pandemic Journalists struggled to accurately convey scientific uncertainty on Covid-19.One recurring theme in the media missteps over the pandemic is a failure to think through and convey uncertainty to readers. And one glaring example of how many journalists and outlets failed the public is in its coverage of the so-called lab leak theory of Covid-19’s origins.

The post received more than 500 likes and 200 shares in two days.

That's not true. Research shows the listed STDs had natural origins, and USA TODAY found no evidence they were created in a lab. Two of the diseases remain in the body forever, though treatments exist for all four, experts say.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.

Special access for subscribers! Click here to sign up for our fact-check text chat

The origins of STDs

Though research into the histories of the listed STDs is ongoing, USA TODAY found no evidence any of them were manufactured in labs.

HIV

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a type of lentivirus, meaning it targets the immune system, according to the American Public Health Association. The last stage of HIV is AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

Fact check: Fictional Tucker Carlson quote about Ukraine spreads on social media

  Fact check: Fictional Tucker Carlson quote about Ukraine spreads on social media Thousands of social media users shared a made-up quote in which Tucker Carlson appeared to question the authenticity of images from Bucha, Ukraine.The confusion began with a tweet in which former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., appeared to quote Carlson on photos depicting the bodies of civilians in the streets of Bucha, Ukraine.

Though the virus was identified in the 1980s, researchers have since discovered that simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which attacks the immune systems of monkeys and apes, "crossed the species barrier" to create the new pathogens of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in humans.

HIV-1 is thought to have traveled from chimpanzee to human, while HIV-2 is thought to have traveled from the Old World monkey sooty mangabay to human, according to a 2011 study. The M group strain of HIV-1, which caused the AIDS pandemic, is thought to have emerged in colonial west-central Africa in the late 17th or early 18th century, Britannica and the study say.

Herpes

A 2014 study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine determined that the two main herpes viruses — human herpes simplex virus, or HSV-1 and HSV-2 — originated millions of years ago. Researchers estimate that HSV-1 infected hominids 6 million years ago, before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees. They also found that HSV-2 traveled from ancient chimpanzees to Homo erectus, the oldest known early humans.

Fact check: Purported Barack Obama tweet about Russia and Donald Trump's birth certificate is satire

  Fact check: Purported Barack Obama tweet about Russia and Donald Trump's birth certificate is satire A screenshot purporting to show Barack Obama tweeting about Donald Trump's birth certificate is fake and originated with a satire publication.A recent social media post purports to flip that accusation on its head.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia trachomatis is a bacterium that causes chlamydia. Its origin has not yet been discovered, but an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences said the bacteria "evolved with humans and shared a common ancestor with environmental chlamydiae some 700 million years ago."

Gonorrhea

A 2020 article published in the Journal of Skin and Sexually Transmitted Diseases reported that gonorrhea's history "dates back to the history of mankind."

"A disease resembling gonorrhea was described by the Chinese emperor, Huang Ti, 2600 B.C., in his textbook," reads the report. "It is believed that the mention of 'an issue of seed' in the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament and the precautions suggested refers to this disease. Gonorrhea was termed 'strangury' by Hippocrates, 460–375 B.C., who claimed that it resulted from the 'pleasures of Venus.'"

A Greek physician named Galen, who lived between A.D. 131 and 200, is believed to have coined the term "gonorrhea," meaning "seed flow" or an unwanted discharge of semen, according to the article.

Fact check: Photo of Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel with Black Marines is authentic

  Fact check: Photo of Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel with Black Marines is authentic A photo used in a campaign ad from Josh Mandell, a U.S. senatorial candidate from Ohio, is authentic. It shows Mandell with five Black Marines.The 30-second campaign ad mentioning CRT, uploaded to YouTube on April 5, shows photos of Josh Mandel from his time serving as a Marine in Iraq. One image shared in a March 6 Instagram post shows Mandel in military attire with five Black Marines.

Treatment for the listed STDs

The post claims the listed STDs can be "easily eliminated from the body." That's only true of two of the listed diseases.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured by antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Repeat infections are common, from both new partners and old partners who didn't receive proper treatment.

Once herpes and HIV enter the body, they're there for life, the CDC says.

Herpes viruses remain latent in the body by getting into nerve roots and spreading to sensory nerve ganglia, which is where nerves from all over the body join together, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Treatments exist for herpes symptoms.

HIV progresses while it's in the body, but slowly, even without treatment, according to University of Michigan Health System. The virus infects and destroys white blood cells called CD4+ cells, which weakens the immune system. HIV can remain latent in clusters of white blood cells, but the cells in those "latent HIV reservoirs" can become active at any time, the National Institutes of Health says.

Once HIV progresses to AIDS, people are more prone to infections and cancers due to their lower count of CD4+ cells, according to the University of Michigan.

If HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, treatment can slow or stop the virus' damage to the immune system, according to the University of Michigan. There are also medicines to make immune systems damaged by AIDS healthier.

McConnell called Sidney Powell and Lin Wood 'clowns' as they pushed to help Trump overturn the election

  McConnell called Sidney Powell and Lin Wood 'clowns' as they pushed to help Trump overturn the election Powell made a name for herself by promising to "Release The Kraken" of debunked voter fraud claims."Everybody around him, except for clowns like Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, are trying to get him to do the right thing," McConnell told New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns in an interview for their forthcoming book of efforts to get President Donald Trump to accept that he lost the 2020 election.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the listed STDs were made in a lab and can be easily eliminated from the body. Research shows the listed STDs had natural origins, and USA TODAY found no evidence they were created in a lab. Two of the diseases remain in the body forever, though treatments exist for all four.

Our fact-check sources:

  • CDC, April 13, 2021, Reported STDs Reach All-time High for 6th Consecutive Year
  • American Public Health Association, January 2005, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Avert, Oct. 30, 2019, ORIGIN OF HIV & AIDS
  • Cold Spring Harbor Perspective in Medicine, September 2011, Origins of HIV and the AIDS Pandemic
  • Britannica, retrieved Jan. 13, The origin of HIV
  • University of California San Diego School of Medicine, June 10, 2014, Herpes Infected Humans Before They Were Human
  • Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, August 2011, Evolution of Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Journal of Skin and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Oct. 15, 2020, Gonorrhea: Historical outlook
  • CDC, retrieved Jan. 13, Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed)
  • CDC, retrieved Jan. 13, Genital herpes - The facts
  • CDC, retrieved Jan. 13, Living with HIV
  • CDC, retrieved Jan. 13, Gonorrhea - The facts
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine, retrieved Jan. 13, Genital herpes
  • University of Michigan Health System, retrieved Jan. 13, HIV Infection
  • NIH, Aug. 4, 2021, What is a Latent HIV Reservoir?

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Battle over carbon capture as tool to fight climate change

  Battle over carbon capture as tool to fight climate change Polly Glover realized her son had asthma when he was nine months old. Now 26, he carries an inhaler in his pocket whenever he’s out and about in Prairieville, Louisiana, part of Ascension Parish. “He probably needs to leave Ascension quite frankly,” Glover says, but he hasn’t because “this is his home and this is our family and this is our community.” The parish is part of the 85-mile (137-kilometer) span between New Orleans and Baton Rouge officially called the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor, more commonly known as Cancer Alley.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that sexually transmitted diseases were made in a lab

Fact check: Photo of KKK billboard from 1970s, not taken recently in North Carolina .
Social media users are sharing an old photo of a Ku Klux Klan billboard following former President Donald Trump's rally in Selma, North Carolina.The image, shared thousands of times on Twitter, shows a red billboard that reads, "Help fight communism and intergration (sic). Join & support United Klans of America Inc." A banner along the bottom of the sign announces that "the KKKK welcomes you to Smithfield.

See also