Let me state the obvious: AIDS is a tragedy. Millions of people a year die from this disease.
Let me state the obvious: people die in car accidents and motorcycle accidents. People die skiing, too.
When someone dies unexpectedly, it is a loss to their loved ones. Nearly all who are reading this have experienced the horrid feeling of such a loss.
Let me state the obvious yet again: Every one of us participates in risky behavior all the time. Getting out of bed in the morning is risky. Apparently 600 Americans die each year falling out of bed.
Go look it up.
Associated with each and every one of our 24-hour-per-day activities is a risk of dying.
So, let me state the obvious again: people have sex. Some people even have standard heterosexual intercourse with strangers.
Go look it up.
The question that should immediately pop into your mind is “What are the odds of dying from AIDS because of a single unprotected ‘normal’ heterosexual encounter compared to, say, taking a single airplane flight?”
The politically incorrect answer is: Roughly the same. About one in 5,000,000.
Go look it up.
The odds of you being killed in a car accident each year is about 1:5000. Basically, you are at greater risk of dying driving to work than participating in an activity that a family newspaper only hints at.
Having said all that, there is a kind of sexual behavior that can dramatically increase the risk of contracting AIDS from nearly nonexistent to really really risky. Riskier, in fact, than the odds of dying base jumping (1 in 2600 jumps). You will have to look up what this fairly common naughty sexual activity is.
It is participating in this fairly common activity that causes the MAC AIDS fund to say that AIDS is the No. 1 killer of women under 35 in the U.S. The flipside to that statistic is that of the 2,426,264 deaths in 2006 in the US, 12,113 died from HIV. See National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 57, Number 14.
So the MAC AIDS fund manages to cherry-pick the data to make this tragic disease appear to be even more tragic. I put this tragedy into context.
So why is it that a paean to AIDS victims, the play Rent, has the seventh longest run on Broadway and is mentioned fondly in Erika Stutzman’s December 2nd editorial in the Daily Camera?
I suspect that the reason is that the above-mentioned naughty behavior is a favorite of homosexual men. Homosexual men have been discriminated in our culture since … forever.
So in liberal New York with its heavy concentration of homosexual men and risky homosexual behavior, AIDS and death from AIDS is yet one more tragic burden that an already-oppressed group bears; a burden inflicted by nature, herself.
Since a large segment of our society would prefer that we be Puritan in our thoughts, words, and deeds, it is no wonder that HIV victims are discriminated against.
Yes, we could (almost) all avoid getting HIV if we did not participate in any sexual behavior. To me, that’s not a life I want to live.
What AIDS/HIV/sex education should teach is “If you do this then there is a chance you will get a disease that will kill you. Here are the odds.”
Erika wrote in that editorial, “… we`ve heard first-hand anecdotes from college-aged students who are less concerned about it than their predecessors.” To which I say, “Good. They have balanced the hysteria against the reality and are deciding that, yes, maybe life is actually worth living without the constant drumbeat of guilt.”
We can reduce the odds of dying by participating in less risky behavior. We can reduce the odds of dying from AIDS from very low to nearly zero; but is it worth doing that?
What I write, above, is politically incorrect. I have already been excoriated elsewhere for simply reporting what the odds of contracting AIDS are.
Life is short. We are all going to die. Some of us will die horrible and tragic deaths due to things we haven’t done wrong. Some of us will die of improbable things because of what we have done wrong. Some of us will die base jumping.
Many of us will die because we spent too much time writing opinion pieces rather than enjoying the breathtaking joy of spending quality time with the opposite sex.