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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Self Restraint, Not Drugs for All, to Stop HIV



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Are we so politically correct now that we can’t discuss what can really stop HIV?

According to the World Health Organization, the HIV epidemic is exploding again “among men who have sex with men.” And the answer being proposed? All sexually active gay men take anti-retroviral drugs. From the Agence France Presse story:

In its new recommendations for combatting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, published Friday, the UN health agency therefore for the first time “strongly recommends men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection”.

US authorities made the same recommendation in May. Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis medication, for instance as a single daily pill combining two antiretrovirals, in addition to using condoms, has been estimated to cut HIV incidence among such men by 20-25 percent, WHO said, stressing that this could avert “up to one million new infections among this group over 10 years”.

The new guidelines also focus on other high-risk groups, pointing out that men who have sex with men, transgender people, prisoners, people who inject drugs and sex workers together account for about half of all new HIV infections worldwide – Putting overall progress at risk -

Clearly, personal irresponsibility is putting progress at risk.

Where is the “war” against that? Do we have such a low opinion of people that we don’t think we are capable of self-restraint? Or–I have to ask–do we just not want people to be sexually responsible?

We should treat promiscuity just as we do smoking, it should be a legal but publicly disfavored activity, with public campaigns to convince people to stop. Good grief, we even go after fake cigarettes and don’t want smoking favorably portrayed in movies. Hello!

But promoting self control apparently, isn’t high on the WHO program:

Promoting condom use, wide-spread voluntary HIV testing, treating at-risk individuals with antiretrovirals, voluntary male circumcision and needle exchange programmes figure among the other WHO recommendations for battling the disease.

And how is this prophylactic drug treatment–which is very expensive–to be paid for? Are we supposed to further strain our health care system by paying for universal access to these drugs–to enable unsafe lifestyles–while cutting treatment for people with late stage cancers, etc? And it isn’t as if the drugs don’t have side effects! Besides, if people won’t stop having irresponsible sex, what makes us think they will reliably take their drugs?

HIV is preventable. It will stop spreading once people stop doing what causes it.

If we only have sex with a monogamous uninfected partner, and don’t share needles, we will not get HIV. Anything else is just putting a Scotch tape over the cracks in a crumbling dam. 



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