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Simply Irresponsible



Editor: I am concerned about the irresponsible suggestions being made by health authorities in SVG. In the Searchlight newspaper of Friday May 12 the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat suggested that it was perfectly alright to engage in sexual intercourse with a known HIV infected person and that marriage to such persons would be a perfectly sane decision. How many persons working for the Ministry of Health would be willing to engage in sexual intercourse with the HIV infected partner of their dreams?{{more}} Is the above the kind of advice you would give to your own loved ones? The secretariat used one, single, solitary case of a married HIV victim, which readers can’t verify as justification for knowingly placing ourselves at risk of contracting a debilitating and deadly disease. Does showing love and support necessitate marriage and sexual contact?

In the Searchlight of Friday June 16 the Secretariat made mention of a survey which showed that people in SVG knew more about abstinence and being faithful than about condoms. First of all, if such a study exists why doesn’t the secretariat properly reference the study and let us know where we can get our hands on a copy of it. After all, which of us would invest even a part of our savings on the mere suggestion of the existence of a report on an investment option? Yet we are expected to make a life-changing decision on condom use on the suggestion of the existence of a survey? We can’t verify the credentials of the individuals conducting the survey, the survey sample size, the survey target group, or the methodology employed. Money is by far, more easily replaced than Life and Health.

I find, also, irresponsible the fact that the Secretariat talks of condom use only in relation to HIV infection when they full well know there are other STDs against which the condom cannot protect. Read what experts with years of experience in research related to condoms and STD say:

“Professionals and the public alike have been misled into believing that sex with a condom is safe … considering the 10% pregnancy rate with the use of condoms, this creates a dangerous false sense of security. We consider it irresponsible to suggest to anyone that condoms are entirely safe … advising persons that it is safe to have sex with condoms is false, provides an erroneous sense of security, and can kill partners.”

• Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Fall 1986, page 164.

Hepatitis B is a particularly dangerous problem in some developing countries. It can lead to chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancers, hepatic (liver) failure and death. There is no cure for Hepatitis B, and up to 20 percent of the general population in many developing countries show signs of infection. Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is many times more infectious than HIV, so we can safely assume condoms to be less effective with HBV than with HIV.

Condoms are no substitute for abstinence, Being faithful, and good old fashioned common sense. In the same way we wouldn’t simply hand a large sum of money over to someone we don’t know much about neither should we hand over our lives and health.