World AIDS Day: A rebuttal to the Notion that It’s about Promoting Homosexuality

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This comment by “alteredego” followed a news story highlighting women who shared how they celebrate the lives of their lost loved ones to AIDS on World AIDS Day.

Why are we celebrating the gay/lesbian lifestyle in our society when it is such a contributing factor in this epidemic? Yes, abstinence is a necessary thing for gays…and straights, in today’s world. The saddest thing about this disease in our country where we are educated about its consequences and spread, is our lack of discipline and self control and a lack of caring about the next person. If you’ve got it…keep it to yourself.

To which I had to reply.  Really.  How could I resist addressing this rampant, ignorant but widely accepted idea that AIDS is all about gay people, and it’s their problem, and if they’d just stop spreading it around to other people, this little problem would just go away?  OOOH man.  This is how I get fired up.

My reply (Still awaiting approval from my good friend, Barney the moderator):

You are missing the entire point about World AIDS day.  AIDS is a global disease: 33.4 million HIV positive (globally), they are NOT just homosexuals.  They are mostly heterosexual.  One of the fastest populations acquiring HIV TODAY IN AMERICA is heterosexual couples, and the majority between the ages of teen through late twenties.  These are our kids becoming sexually active in high school and continuing into adulthood, thinking that “it won’t be me.”  These are also injection drug users, another high-risk population.   There are approximately 32,000 new cases annually and half of them have no idea they are infected, so they pass it to others unknowingly.  These are the statistics, I heard them last week in a lecture by an AIDS expert and professor.
Also, AIDS internationally is a heterosexual disease.  Your attitude is a remnant from the eighties, when we were first learning about the disease.  It’s true, the gay community was ravaged by it and still is, and they paid for it and pay for it still through discrimination.  However, this is not about celebrating an alternative lifestyle.   This is not about celebrating a disease.  This is about celebrating the progress we’ve made in drugs and treatment, the fact that if you acquire it, it may not be a death sentence as it once was.  This is about awareness that unless you have gross exposure to bodily fluids such as blood/semen, it is perfectly OK to be around people with the disease.  I just heard on NPR yesterday about a girl in the eighties who acquired it (probably via blood transfusion) and the school she went to required that she stay inside a glass container.  We have come a LONG way from those days, and that is a good thing for our society.  AIDS is not a “gay” disease.  It is a global disease.  There are millions of AIDS orphans in Africa alone, a continent ravaged by disease (24 million living with AIDS, approximately).  Whether you individually care about Africa, I don’t know, but we are all humans, we live on this planet, I feel that we should care about eradicating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, etc from the entire world.  This is attainable.
So I really wish instead of just scoffing it off as a political conspiracy by the gay community to push for acceptance of alternative lifestyles, that you would be supportive of the GLOBAL progress we’ve made in tackling this disease.  No innocent person, regardless of their lifestyle choices deserves to die from a terrible disease.
I agree, we do need to ramp up prevention, but let’s be real here- there are probably very few people out there actively infecting other people on purpose.  Most people just don’t get tested and don’t think they’re at risk.  The statistics say otherwise.  If you are sexually active with multiple partners, or with partners who are sexually active with other people, GET TESTED.  Educate your kids about the risks of acquiring HIV from sex and injection drug use.  And finally, please note that this is WORLD AIDS Day.  This is not just about AIDS in America.  Many innocent women and girls are infected in other countries by their husbands, rapists, or consensual partners, horribly enough, even by men in cultures where the rumor is rampant that if you have sex with a virgin, you can be healed.  This problem is much bigger than your opinions on homosexuality, which you are entitled to have.  Please consider these thoughts, and these statistics.
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2 responses »

  1. All true and well written. This is so much bigger than a political movement for a small section of the population to get money. It has decimated the population of heterosexuals in Africa as Kerry has mentioned.

  2. Right on sistah! Antiquated ideas are one of the main reasons why this disease spread so quickly in the first place. I appreciate you providing factual information in such a respectful manner. Yes, we all have the right to our own opinion, but spreading misinformation will not get us any closer to eradicating this horrendous disease.

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