I have to admit that while I knew that AIDS was a growing epidemic in the Black community, I had no idea it was as bad as it is. Other than Abortion, AIDS is the number one killer in the Black community. As a matter of fact, 54% of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2003 is Black. By any standard, this is alarming!
But what is even more alarming is what the leaders in the Black community want to offer up as the solutions. The Los Angeles Times is reporting on a meeting that took place to discuss how to stem this tide. And the solutions discussed demonstrate that there is a lot of denial about the root causes for the ramped spread of HIV/AIDS in America, specifically in the Black community. What are their key solutions?
Their Solution #1- “…the community needed to be more accepting of the black gay community…”
While I agree that we should be accepting of all people, we do not have to be, nor should we be accepting of all behavior. It is also important that we tell the truth about how risky this lifestyle choice is. A study by Paul Cameron (Cameron, Paul, William L. Playfair, and Stephen Wellum (1993), “The Homosexual Lifespan,”) states that the average lifespan of homosexual men is more than 30 years less than that of heterosexual men.
Additionally, there are certain behaviors and activities that lead to greater risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and Homosexual Sex is one of the riskiest. The number one method of contracting AIDS, by far, is still male-to-male sexual contact. And the CDC reports that since 2001, this number has been on the rise.
Their Solution #2- “Women also had a responsibility to refuse to have sex with men without using protection”
First of all, let’s remove the “…without protection.” part. Since statistics from the National Organization of Women have shown that even if used properly, condoms fail 14.2% of the time. (That’s if they are used correctly!) This conservative estimate is blown out of the water by another study by Dr. Susan Weller (“A Meta-Analysis of Condom Effectiveness in Reducing Sexually Transmitted HIV”) showed that condoms have a 31% failure rate in preventing the HIV transmission.
Secondly, let’s replace that phrase with, “…outside of a monogamous married relationship.” As statistics show that abstinence and refraining from sex outside of a monogamous, married relationship are the two best ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs; including HIV.
Finally, let’s not let men off the hook. We are much more responsible for the spread of HIV in our community that are women. It is men giving the virus to other men and it is also men giving it to women. The number of reported transmissions by women to men sexual contact is dwarfed by both the male-to-male and male-female transmission numbers.
The Real Solution- The most profound statement from this gathering came from a 20 year-old young woman who had become infected with the virus. Now an AIDS-awareness activist, she stated that, “the disease was preventable if people simply used better judgment.”
This all comes down to a matter of making better choices. And the first of these choices has to be doing away with political correctness and telling the truth about HIV/AIDS and the lifestyles that add to the expansion of the disease. We must also confront the myth called “Safe Sex”. There is no such thing… unless you are in a married monogamous relationship. All condoms do is reduce the risk a minimal amount.
All of us have been guilty of poor judgment at one time or another. So, let’s not go casting stones. But the worst thing we can do is to compound that mistake by trying to call it “good judgment”. There are lifestyles and behaviors that dramatically increase the risk of spreading this dangerous disease. Knowing what they are is not the hard part. Being honest with ourselves that there is truly no risk-free way to engage in these activities seems to be the part that many of us cannot accept.
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