Sunday, July 30, 2006

AIDS Convention

The Nth annual pre-convention on AIDS is taking place in Toronto. Once again, it's hard to figure out just where this convention is on AIDS.

It's not as if there's a lot of good news on the subject. The big breakthrough seems to be about some prophylactic cream for women to use that might protect up to 60% of the users from acquiring the disease. World AIDS spokesperson Stephen Lewis - a genuinely nice man, but like anybody in a hopeless situation, a lot lost - sounded like a panacea had been discovered. It seems to me that 60/40 is still a bit of a crap-shoot, paricularly if you wind up in the 40% who 'lose'. Needless to say, the homosexuals at the convention wanted to know when a phylactery for anal use would be available. I wondered if they were thinking of flavours next? If this is the best news we're going to get, then next year in wherever!

Bill and Melinda Gates were the heroes of the occasion for the work of their foundation in supplying anti-viral medications to AIDS sufferers. I wonder how far their 70 billion dollar fund would go in the 'fight against AIDS'. I don't think it would be anywhere near enough, given the on-going growth in the numbers of those affected.

For all our knowldge, the things that we do know, we don't apply the least bit well. We know that AIDS remains undetected for a period of time before the host becomes ill with secondary diseases. We know that most AIDS is transmitted during this period, usually out of ignorance. We know that attitudes toward women in some parts of the world are a prime factor in the number of AIDS-infected women. We know that abstinence,nonogamy, chastity and fidelity are pretty effective ways to avoid getting AIDS. We continue to insist that latex and now, prophylactic cream, will provide an answer to this scourge; human behaviour is tangential and cannot be changed.

I think that as soon as the United Nations decides to be absolutely truthful about AIDS and to encourage nations to tell the truth, too, before giving-in to easy 'good news', the sooner AIDS will be reined-in. 'Wrap it in rubber', or 'put some cream on it', seem like they might have some appeal to those frequenting a native-healer, but the obvious "don't do that" seems eminently more efficient and sensible, if not do-able. Couldn't we try both?

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