Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. Begun in 1988, the day is meant to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS with an eye toward prevention and raising funds for research and care.

Prevention education in America today is frustrated by the insanely absurd (or is that absurdly insane?) Bush junta’s anti-sex policies. Here are just two of many examples: Appointing a fundamentalist Christian opposed to all contraception as the director of the federal office in charge of distributing contraception (including condoms) and information. And then there’s the plan to force states to promote sexual abstinence until age 30 (or heterosexual marriage).

Others have talked about these and other Bush idiocies far better than I could. They’ve pointed out the futility of policies based on peculiar religious belief rather than reality.

Of course, every sane and rational person knows that you won’t prevent HIV/AIDS infection (or other STDs or unwanted pregnancies) by pretending that the only permissible sex is between one man and one woman married to each other. The real world is far more complicated—and, I think, far more interesting—than the simplistic monochromatic world promoted by the Bushies.

Which is why Bush and his arrogance really pisses me off.

I get angry at the thought of all the young folk who will become infected with HIV/AIDS because their pResident doesn’t think they’re human enough to warrant the least little effort to help keep them safe. I get angry that he can be so self-righteously arrogant as to assume that what he and Laura apparently have done in bed at least once is the only legitimate form of sexuality, that anyone who doesn’t make babies is heading toward some sort of damnation.

I get angry that he and his cronies are so filled with hate that they can’t even consider the possibility that other types of love not only exist, but are legitimate and deserve to be treated with respect. They don’t “approve” or “like” it? Who’s asking them to? No one needs their approval, just for them to get out of the way.

If Bush & Co feel revolted at the thought of two men having sex, here’s a news flash: The idea of any of them “doing it” is pretty revolting to the rest of us. But that’s no reason that sex education programmes shouldn’t cover all possibilities, and not just focus on “abstinence until marriage”, which—thanks to Bush and the RepubliCONS—would mean all same-sex American couples would have to remain forever celibate. They wish!

One wonders sometimes if much of anything has changed in America since the 1980s. Certainly the situation for prevention efforts is far worse. The current Administration is hell-bent, as it were, on avoiding any responsible, reasonable and—let’s be honest here—rational HIV/AIDS education, or sexuality education in general. Little wonder, considering how utterly afraid of sex the current crop of Republicans are.

So, until America gets regime change, I’ll take it upon myself to offer simple, easy-to-remember safe sex education, a slogan from ads run by the New Zealand Ministry of Health: “If you ain’t got the rubba, there’ll be no hubba hubba” (to see the commercials, go here).

This post is dedicated to the memory of two friends lost to AIDS: Chris Cothran, who taught me the newspaper industry, and Al Wardell, who taught me to be an activist. Each of them helped me on the road to where I am today, and I won’t forget them nor let their memory fade.


lost in france said...

Glad to see we are blogging on the same topic today!

Arthur Schenck said...

Wow--I was just on your blog commenting on how we were both blogging on this topic, only to find out you were here doing the same--freaky, non?

Starman said...

While I totally agree with your assessment of the Bushies, I believe that people are still getting AIDS because they somehow got the idea that they are immune and are having unprotected sex. AIDS is absolutely preventable, if people would just control their lust. Yes, abstinence is not a likely solution, but common sense should be. True, it isn't easy to refrain when the libido goes into high gear. But if your life is at risk, a choice must be made. Sadly, today, too many are choosing to tempt fate.

Arthur Schenck said...

You're right, Starman, AIDS is preventable. But the Bushies and their abstinence-only programmes are focusing on that as the ONLY way to prevent HIV/AIDS. Many of these programmes, especially the "faith-based initiatives" preach about the failure rate of condoms, which teaches teenagers that they may as well not bother with them. Kids always think they're indestructible and always will. But give them REAL information so they can make a REAL decision.