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Safe sex?… Yeah right!



by Mike Edwards

Would the AIDS Secretariat & SVG Health people please stop wasting our tax dollars on expensive electronic signs that bombard us with inane statements like, “For Carnival 2008, Party Hearty, but don’t get AIDS”, “Protect yourself, use a condom” & “SVG is serious about AIDS.” Is it too much to ask, that for once, instead of listening to Western experts about how to stem the AIDS crisis, we look to Africa instead? Specifically Uganda.{{more}} Here is an African country which had a horrific HIV infection rate of 21% in 1991, but which has experienced an almost miraculous turn around, cutting it to 6% by 2002-a 65% decrease! How did they do it? By pushing abstinence & marital faithfulness-not condoms! During that time period, from President Museveni on down, Uganda’s government decided to preach “risk avoidance” instead of the standard “risk reduction” message of today’s “experts.” The Ugandan posters and messages were blunt-even amateurish-but the attempt to get people to actually change their sexual behavior succeeded!

It doesn’t take much thought to understand why the “Cap It” methodology doesn’t work. After all, how many of you would climb into an airplane with me for a free skydiving trip, if you knew that one out of every 6 parachutes would fail? Or how many of you would like to play Russian roulette, where you sit around in a circle and put one bullet in a pistol, spin the cylinder a couple times, then pass the gun around the circle and take turns holding it against your head and pulling the trigger. “Hey man, you’ve got an 86% chance of living.” Right! But it’s the 14% chance of blowing my brains out that doesn’t appeal to me.

Likewise, the failure rate for condoms in preventing pregnancy over the course of a year (and a woman can only conceive 2-3 days/month) is similar to Russian roulette. It runs from approximately 10-17%, and even higher for adolescents and some other demographic groups. One reason is because condoms break, leak or slip 1-4% of the time. Plus you do have to use them. And you have to use them correctly (Adolescents rarely do). And you have to use them every time. But only a very small percentage of people do-even those in “high risk” situations. For instance, when it is known that one partner is HIV positive, the rate of using a condom every time has been found to be less than 50%! Fifty percent! And it’s not because they don’t know about condoms or know about the dangers! Keep in mind too that condoms provide only an 85% protection rate against HIV, even when they are used 100% of the time! That’s a 15% failure rate! To top it off, even among people who have been literally smothered with the “Protect yourself, use a condom” message, a high percentage of sexually active individuals still don’t use them! It’s not a matter of a lack of knowledge or a lack of availability. This has been shown in study after study, from the heart of Africa to the heart of San Francisco! And don’t forget, unlike pregnancy, you can get infected with HIV and a couple dozen other STD’s (STI’s) every day of the month-not just 2 or 3 days! Are you getting the picture yet?

Condom proponents also may not tell you that the AIDS virus is 1/25th the width of a human sperm and that it is 10 times smaller than the smallest hole that can be detected in a condom. So when you look at the condom package and it says, “electronically tested”, it doesn’t mean a whole lot! It also helps explain why, in a University of Miami study a few years ago, 18% of the spouses of HIV positive individuals ended up infected themselves within a year and half – even though they used a condom every single time! So much for the “Protect yourself, use a condom” message on the AIDS signboard!

Finally, condoms provide only 50% protection against several other bacterial STD’s. And…little if any protection against STD’s contracted via skin to skin contact! No wonder people are still getting herpes, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, etc, even though they use condoms. By the way, HPV is the largest sexually transmitted disease affecting women today and is the cause of a very high percentage of cervical cancer cases. And in case you were wondering, yes, most condom advocates know these things.

In light of the above facts, does it make any sense for SVG & the leaders of our tourism industry to strive to have “The Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean”? In fact, why are we promoting and holding carnival at all? Many would agree that it’s just a two week period when normally restrained, decent people run around nearly naked, get drunk, & behave as though sex is nothing but another low-contact sport like football, basketball or netball?

“But if we stop having carnival we’ll lose a lot of money.” I’m sure we will. But what is the cost to SVG for medicines and personnel needed to treat patients with STI’s such as AIDS, herpes, HPV, genital warts, etc-plus the OB-GYN care for girls delivering out of wedlock babies? And how do you put a dollar figure on the cost to SVG society of the social pathologies (e.g. rapes, murders, broken homes, fatherless children, AIDS deaths, etc) that comes with the carnival mentality of “If it feels good, do it.” That’s…the real fruit of carnival.

You say, “Man, are you opposed to sex?” Absolutely not. I’m opposed to the kind of sex where you end up feeling used and thrown away like an old wash rag. There’s a better way. God’s way. Wait until marriage and then stay faithful to that partner for a lifetime!

“Are you kidding man, you miss out!” Oh yeah, I forgot. You miss out on guilt, regret, and anger over being “used.” You miss out on unexpected pregnancies, unwanted diseases (some of which never go away), bad memories, and the planting of the seeds of distrust that often end up destroying subsequent marriages! You want a “Reality show”? That’s it my friend! Not those stupid soap operas.

It’s time to ask some questions:

  • What values are we promoting through the constant parading of female flesh at endless “beauty” pageants?
  • Why are a tiny minority of “musicians” & “producers” (inside and outside SVG) allowed to pollute our ears and minds with their vulgar lyrics-at carnival, on buses, and in our streets and neighborhoods?
  • Why are performers allowed to say and do almost anything under the “Mas” of “Culture” & “Freedom of speech”?
  • When an artist uses words and promotes behaviours that until recently would have gotten him arrested, when are we going to finally start saying, “It’s wrong, and it needs to stop!”

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people… I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.” (Prov. 14:34; Rom. 16:19)