Monday, December 01, 2003

AIDS DAY. Today is AIDS Day. That does not mean you are supposed to go out and get it. No, it is to drum up support for those who have it. And there are a bunch of them.

The numbers are staggering. Worldwide, the U. N. estimates anywhere from 34 to 46 million people have HIV. Africa is suffering the most. 8000 people a day die from AIDS in Africa. Yet, 5 million people were infected this year. Some African countries could lose 26 percent of their work force. In Sub-Sahara Africa alone, over 26 million people have AIDS.

Much of the cry is for medicine. The U. N. is spending 5.5 billion for emergency treatment. You have to wonder why the waited.

AIDS was first diagnosed in 1981, so it has been active for about 20 years. It has spread across the world. Even China now has large numbers of victims.

The tragedy behind AIDS Day is that it will not address the problem. In Singapore, women dressed in sexy clothes handed out condoms. In Cambodia, girls held up signs that said you can kiss me and not get AIDS. Always the message is how to be careful having sex and how much sex you can have without getting the virus.
The problem is it does not work.

It is painful to state the obvious, but no one seems to get it, so let’s do it. First, there is no cure for AIDS. Repeat: there is no cure for AIDS. All the fancy medicines only ease the symptoms or extend life for a short while. So when you hear all the shouting for us to send more drugs, remember it is only a band aid. There is no cure. There is only death. Sooner or later, easier or harder, only death. All the five million who got it this year will die from it.

Second, AIDS is still primarily spread by promiscuous sexual activity. If you have sex with someone who has AIDS, or HIV, you will likely become infected, and you will die. You might escape with a condom. But, why is not that concept working? Maybe in some places they have not heard of condoms. But, really, how likely is that? Not very, except in the poorest areas. So, why do they not use them? Either they do not want to, or they do not have them.

Supply and demand could be a problem. You would have to send hundreds of millions of condoms to Africa to accommodate the folks that have AIDS. If 40 million people in Africa have either HIV or AIDS, and they have sex even once per week, that is 2,080,000,000 condoms per year needed for Africa alone. That would be great for Trojan stock, but who is going to buy them and distribute them? (Oh, I know, the U. S. should do it for free.)

Then again, if the people will not use them, it will not help.

There is one and only one place in Africa where significant progress has been made to stem the tide. It is Uganda. What is their program? They stress abstinence.

Monogamy works. If you do not have AIDS, and your spouse does not have AIDS, you will not get AIDS no matter how much sex the two of you have together. Marriage works. Fidelity works.

Abstinence works. If you do not have sex, you will not get AIDS. (Yes, I know there are exceptions, but not many.)

Sobriety works. If you do not inject drugs, you will not catch AIDS from a needle. If you are not drunk, you will be less likely to engage in promiscous behavior.

But, no one wants to say this in the U. N. We want condoms, we want sex, and we have AIDS, and we will die.

We can adopt old fashion values of morality and fidelity and live. Maybe if you did not tell the U. N. that it is in the Bible, they would not object so much.

Otherwise, you are bailing water out of the Titanic with a bucket. A bigger bucket will bail more water, but you will still drown when the ship sinks. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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