Monday, January 14, 2008

AIDS: Silence Is Still Deadly

Today's New York Times reports that HIV rates have increased dramatically among men under 30 in the last five years, including doubling among teenage gay men since 2001.

Their opinion piece suggests that these young men don't remember the early scourge of the epidemic, and that they think that retrovirals mean that AIDS is manageable. I also think that it is important to remember that young people under 30 have ALWAYS lived with the HIV/AIDS epidemic -- remember that the first cases of AIDS were in the early 1980's, the HIV virus was identified in 1985, the year that today's 22 year olds were born. HIV/AIDS has always been there for today's teen and young adults, and that breeds I fear a certain level of complacency.

But, I agree with the NY TIMES editorial staff that the far larger culprit is that society has become complacent, the red AIDS ribbon seen as trite, the in your face education campaigns fewere and fewer. And I believe a real part of the culprit is the lack of comprehensive sexuality education and lectures that teach that condoms aren't foolproof which has resulted in teens NOT having the information or skills to protect themselves.

Thanks to the editors for reminding their readers that "silence is still deadly." And to this minister, immoral.

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