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The Pope v. AIDS

Interesting article circulating the news wires today that quotes Pope Benedict XVI saying "you can't resolve it (the global AIDS problem) with the distribution of condoms... On the contrary, it increases the problem."

While I'm not sure what Benedict's motivation was, beyond the obvious religious motivation, I happen to agree with him.

I think the best way to slow the spread of AIDS is to convince sexually active people to weigh the Pros and Cons of shagging someone with infected naughty bits.

And getting grown people to think doesn't require expensive lesson plans.

Ask yourself "Which is more valuable to me - my bits not burning and remaining intact and me leading a potentially long, healthy life, or the temporary satisfaction that will follow this romp I'm about to have with this person whose sexual history I'm unsure of?"

If you choose the latter over the former, you are a moron. And expensive education wouldn't have helped you anyway. And you're probably too dumb to put a condom where it belongs anyway.

Spirituality is great. Religion often bites. But spirituality is terrific. Still, this AIDS issue doesn't even require religion.

I agree with the Pope on this one, 'cause we tend to throw up our hands in helplessness too often and rely on devices and tools to save us from destruction, when the simplest, cheapest solution of all is self control.

And don't tell me it's different in Thirld World countries. How? Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on education programs and prevention programs by "developed" countries. And education is great. But how about tasking people with simply weighing the consequences?

Yeah, sex is a right, for everyone, even the poor and destitute and starving and what not. But where the act of consensual intercourse may be a right, what could happen to your body if you sleep with a sick person is a consequence.

It really is that simple.

I'm not picking on the Third World. Plenty of us are hypocrites on this one. We get righteously indignant when someone drives drunk and injures or kills another person. We wax poetic that the drunk driver should have exercised self restraint himself and stopped drinking before he got drunk, or maybe he shouldn't have had anything to drink.

We tell greedy banks they should never have loaned money to people without obvious means to pay them back. We tell Average Joe that he should have reigned himself in, and lived within his means, and never should have taken out a loan that was 10 times his annual income.

But with AIDS? We have to educate people, or else they might happen to get AIDS.

Remember that old Crime Mutt who used to say stuff like "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time?" That doesn't need translating, but just in case...it breaks down to "You might not get caught if you commit a crime, but you might. So before you commit it, ask yourself if you're prepared to suffer the consequences."

Substitute "have sex with anyone who might be six" with "commit a crime" or "do the crime," and you have the most cost effective fix for AIDS ever.

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Kay

Quick question,

I had heard at one point that most of the “new” cases of AIDS in third world countries were due to babies being born with AIDS.

If that is in any way true, then condoms would be more for the prevention of pregnancy (something the Pope as a catholic wouldn’t support) than about the disease being transmitted between adults… right?

I do agree with you though, obviously responsibility should be part of the equation.

James B.

Kay, you may be right on the purpose of the condoms in the Third World AIDS battle. I guess I should've been more specific. This goes beyond adults spreading the disease. Even so, you could still apply the self control argument: don't go knocking people up if you're not prepared to deal with the consequences!

insomniac

i don't think there's anything wrong with taking a little from column A and a little from column B
you have to have self control no matter what you decide...either practice (temporary)abstinence or wear a condom. either way will help stop the spread of HIV

Wavemancali

I think you are dead wrong and I think that spreading opinion that can be contradicted by fact in cases like this proves a very huge danger. I liken it to spreading an opinion that drinking poison isn't deadly.

On a cost basis, promotion of condom use is the most effective way to combat the disease. Studies have shown that if people think that other people are using condoms, they will also use them if they are available.

http://www.infoforhealth.org/pr/h9/h9boxes.shtml is a link that shows a lot of information on the topic.

Choosing a "clean partner" in the third world is a virtual impossibility in sub-Sahara Africa because 2/3 of the population is infected. Also,the resources to get tested just are not there, so how are you going to choose a "clean partner"?

Responsibility is a wonderful thing but education and condom use is what works.

James B.

Insomniac, you get the award for sensible moderation today. Perhaps I could've used some in this post...but I'm not conceding yet;-)

WAvemancali, I don't think my opinion is dangerous. I didn't deny the science behind the condom. How it helps prevent the spread of disease is obvious or should be to even the least scientific mind.

I get a sneaking suspicion you think my opinion is based on religion or philosophy in this case. And it really isn't.

We're gonna have to agree to disagree, 'cause how do we compare how effective personal responsibility is vs. a tangible item like a condom? It's impossible to make a direct comparison.

Therefore my opinion on which is more effective is just that: my opinion. And I stand by it.

Call me or my words dangerous when I write something crazy like condoms don't work or they cause AIDS or something. I'd never do that though.

Besides, what the hell's wrong with asking grown folks to consider whether or not sex with a particular person is worth the health risk and to make a wise decision accordingly?

James B.

BTW, Wavemancali, by my theory you could argue that condom use might be a natural progression of the personal responsibility method of preventing AIDS.

Wavemancali

James, what you are implying when you suggest "personal responsibility" can only boil down to three things.

1)Be responsible and use a condom
2)Abstinence
3)Don't screw someone unless you know they are clean.

Since in your article you agree with the pope who has the mistaken belief that #1 increases the problem, you are backing 2 or 3.

We've established through our own social experiments in the US that #2 clearly doesn't work. There are innumerable studies proving that people will not abstain no matter how much you teach them of the consequences.

And with the poverty in the areas where it's such an issue like I pointed out, #3 is flat out impossible.

When you encourage a departure from option #1 you encourage the death of more people based on opinion over scientific knowledge.

It's not an agree to disagree situation.

It is a you are wrong situation.

I'll answer the one question you posed:

"Besides, what the hell's wrong with asking grown folks to consider whether or not sex with a particular person is worth the health risk and to make a wise decision accordingly?"

Absolutely nothing as long as after you ask them you give them condom for when they are stupid.

Pamela

Condoms aren't popular in some of those countries with high infection rates - and dictators. Because they haven't figured out a way to make money with them in the black market.


(I'm sure being tough on your topics today!)

James B.

Sorry, Wavemancali, we're still going to disagree on whether I'm wrong. In your initial response to me, you blasted me based on the scientific success of condoms. Again, I never questioned condom science. I questioned whether their use was the best AIDS prevention - better than good sense, which should govern all our decisions - whether those decisions are simply whether or not to engage in an act, period, or whether to engage in that act and use protection. It all falls under common sense. But I'll stop, 'cause it's clear neither of us is going to change his mind on this one. In fact, I'm in a good mood, so I'll make a concession: I say Insomniac was right on this one - a little from column A, a little from column B.

Pamela, I believe you're right on this one. It's the same argument for why marijuana hasn't been made fully legal in this country. Its "farms" are not always identifiable and therefore not taxable. Same goes for keeping track of its merchants and customers.

And you never have to feel reluctant to be tough on my topics. You know that. I love the debate. This blog would be boring if you guys always agreed with me. Wavemancali disagrees with me all the time, sometimes vehemently, and I still like him! So thanks for stirring it up ;-)

Wavemancali

Yes James and I are always buddies no matter how wrong he gets, I still respect him greatly. :)

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