So… it’s World AIDS Day. And I have yet to post about it. I’ve been thinking about what I think about AIDS, about sex education, about prejudices surrounding AIDS, and what it all means to me. I haven’t come to any new conclusions, but thinking’s always good, right?
I don’t know anyone that has died of AIDS. I don’t know anyone that is (openly) HIV+ or has AIDS. I’ve never been at risk, having never had a blood transfusion or sex. AIDS itself is not something I think about frequently. I do think about sex education issues, given my own experiences and what I hear about various stances concerning the issue. I remember sitting in middle school and listening to some burly coach hem and haw for a few minutes on Sex-Ed Day with nothing intelligable coming out of his mouth, then finally saying, “Just don’t do it.” Sex education was left to my parents, who assumed I had learned it in school or elsewhere (which, by then I mostly had) and didn’t really tell me anything unless some odd occasion left me with a question none of my peers could answer. Sex education came from television and getting the guts to ask my peers really, really weird questions, all while trying not to seem too ignorant. Surely I’m not the only one with this dilemma.
I am concerned with the message by some religious parties that abstinence is the only choice, and that people shouldn’t be educated about sex because they shouldn’t be doing it. Putting questions of breeding ignorance aside (no pun intended), is factually educating people about sex and preventative methods the same as tell them to go out and have mad, passionate, monkey-sex with as many people as possible? Or is it factually educating people about sex and preventative methods and leaving the moral questions of “should” (not to mention the lifestyle questions of “will”) to them? It probably seems different from the other perspective…
I also think about prejudices concerning AIDS, as those are ideas I find myself hearing entirely too often: “AIDS is God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality [or promiscuity]” or that, in general, it’s a “gay disease”. I can’t even address the first one, as it’s a moral stance I can’t even argue successfully with; I halt at the word god and question the Christian definition of such a being. But the idea that it’s a gay disease is something that so many seem to still believe, no matter the number of straight people that have AIDS. These are the same people that will sit and tell you that, “Uh-huh, I know I could get the disease if I’m not careful,” but that you later hear make snide remarks that there’s no way they could get that “fag’s disease”. How do you combat that type of ignorance? They have most likely spent their entire lives indoctrinated with that type of prejudice, despite the truthful information they have come across. Of course, it never hurts to try to combat it anyway, but I wonder (in, I suppose, my typical cynical way) whether anyone who has taken advantage of the wealth of information available about AIDS (particularly today) has changed their opinion from one of bigotry to… well, to anything else.
(Not terribly insightful, I know. Perhaps I should have just kept my
mouth shut hands still. But if you want good reading, visit Karsh and follow his series and his links. I also found Aaron’s post about the responses to a poster titled “Kissing Doesn’t Kill. Greed and Indifference Do” interesting. Of course, thebrotherlove made me want to cry. I, for one, am glad he’s alive [and sorry his friends aren’t], and I don’t even know him. Not that that’s a condition for giving a damn about someone’s well-being or anything, it’s just… well, nevermind.)