left biblioblography: Write This Down On Your Calendars – King Katholic Rat Is Actually Correct About Something…

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Write This Down On Your Calendars – King Katholic Rat Is Actually Correct About Something…

A christian troll on another blog brought this to my attention:

Guess who says pope was right about condoms, AIDS
Harvard scientist: Those mocking pontiff's stand are wrong

A senior Harvard research scientist confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI, who endured heavy criticism for declaring that condom distribution programs worsen the AIDS epidemic in Africa, was actually correct.

Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development

Studies, told National Review Online last week that despite AIDS activists and media outlets pounding the pope for downplaying the effectiveness of condoms, the science actually supports the Catholic leader's claim.

"The pope is correct," Green told NRO, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."

– so I smirked my liberal smirk, and started doing some research. My first probe was looking into Thailand, which embarked on a campaign against STDS/AIDS (due to the high volume of both, as well as the casual sex industry, which is big business in that country).:

There are very few developing countries in the world where public policy has been effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS on a national scale, but Thailand is an exception. A massive programme to control HIV has reduced visits to commercial sex workers by half, raised condom usage, decreased the prevalence of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) dramatically, and achieved substantial reductions in new HIV infections.

Thailand, though, is also a reminder that success can be relative. Its well funded, politically supported and comprehensive prevention programmes have saved millions of lives, reducing the number of new HIV infections from 143,000 in 1991 to 19,000 in 2003.  Nonetheless, more than one-in-100 adults in this country of 65 million people is infected with HIV, and AIDS has become a leading cause of death.3

Unless past efforts are sustained and new sources of infection are addressed, the striking achievements made in controlling the epidemic could now be put at risk. Factors such as an increase in risky sexual behaviour and a rising number of STI cases have led to concerns that Thailand could face a resurgence of HIV and AIDS in coming years.

And I recalled this:

The development of antibiotics in the 1940s made most of the severe venereal diseases of the time curable, namely gonorrhea and syphilis. In the early 1960s, The Pill became available; at first for married women only, but demand and changes in attitudes later led to it becoming available to unmarried women as well.

With the threat of disease and pregnancy now reduced, much of the post-WW2 baby boom generation fearlessly experimented with sex without considering marriage.

And the evolution of antibiotic-resistant STDs is documented history. Also, has the possibility of the advent of anti-AIDS drugs spurred some onto reckless behavior?

Here’s the qualification: you just can’t distribute condoms to folks and tell them they’re safe. Condoms break (American condoms are higher quality, so they do better), sometimes they slip off (I know this because I’m a gusher) and it’s about education. Human behavior being what it is, most folks think they can just wallow on into the deep end because the sharks have been driven off and ignore the barracudas because no one told them about that specific threat. So the right wingnuts seem to think that condoms are being distributed sans education (and for all I know, that may be the case).

Education breeds educated choices. And magic bullets don’t exist.

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