Monday, November 16, 2009

Keep Sex Safe

Abstinence-Only produces results.

I just went through a brief obsession with the early years of the AIDS crises. As far as STDs go, HIV/AIDS seems to be the ultimate one. It was first noticed as a mysterious rash of illnesses such as Kaposi's Sarcoma striking young men, causing them to suffer and die from ailments that were usually associated only with older men (from CBC Archives).

At this time, we have many ways of treating HIV/AIDS. We have drugs that control it for many years, and allow people who have contracted it to live fulfilling lives, so it's not the death sentence it was in the '80s. We're even making major advances as far as prevention goes. But a CONDOM remains the only way to really contain the virus.

We all make stupid decisions sometimes when we're drunk. Or young and easily bullied. Or whatever. I think most people who are sexually active have slipped up at least once and had unprotected sex. At least we're usually vaguely aware that it's a BAD idea.

But listening to the different bits about the early years of the AIDs crises on CBC's archives was frightening. How terrifying it would have been, to be a young person, hearing about this virus. Or to contract it. And yet, the easy assumption that it was a "gay" or "junkie" disease - made bitterly obvious by people saying, as I've heard very occasionally today "Oh, I don't sleep with people who hang around people like that".

I suppose the rash of musicians and celebrities dying from AIDS at the time helped make people feel frightened and worried about the virus.

And, it seems that the advent of HIV/AIDS at least helped to push people towards a more public and more comprehensive sex education, even with all the shock that sexuality was even mentioned on public media.

I've been ranting about this a lot lately, it seems. One reason why I cannot bring myself to ever support religious world charities, especially if they're working in Africa. The movement for abstinence as a solution to the spread of AIDS (which isn't just a crisis in Africa, it affects many developing countries, Africa is just the most publicized) is, in my opinion, a crime against humanity. The consistent blocking of Sex Education, in the face of the AIDS virus (as the US government spearheaded under George Bush, as the Catholic Church strongly supports, and many other Christian charities) is a fucking travesty. But hey, it's making LOTS of money for the big drug companies!! (Go team "morality"). Condoms are cheaper than life-long drug treatments - but what is it we invest in?

But it's frightening that people are talking about Abstinence-based sex education. Even though, everything suggests that Ab-Only is a BAD idea - at least in the States it has been. It's bad enough that many religious groups like to make people feel guilty for wanting or having sex. How fucking sinful it is to have a libido. But to willingly deny people the information and ability to take care of themselves, is criminal. It worries me that Obama hasn't done much to repeal the mistakes of Bush in that arena. And it worries me that Canada often likes to follow the US's mistakes like a lost and stupid puppy. Our current prime minister has a hankering for more Christian "morals" in our government and school systems (think about some of Alberta's more questionable policy shifts lately. We're not as well-educated as we should be already.

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