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You wrong, wrong, wrong
May 2, 2007

I was so infuriated by the "question" about abstinance only sex education that I thought I ought to respond.

I suggest the original poster looks at the evidence of the HIV epidemic in Uganda and the harm linking funding to abstinance and/or no condom use does!

For what its worth, there is nothing wrong with a multi-faceted approach (nor am I suggesting there is anything wrong in talking about abstinance per se), but DOGMATIC abstinance only sex education [and not making condoms available] is in my view morally wrong.

I suggest the poster needs to live in the real world and broaden her horizons (just a tad!!!). I'm afraid that it is these sorts of posts which give Americans a bad reputation this side of the pond!

I suggest the young lady could do a lot worse than spend some time in an AIDS orphanage in Africa.

P.S. there are evangelical churches in England who recognise these truths and are now actively helping HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa and that should be applauded. Let's have some evidence-based policies George

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello George,

I received many posts in response to Little Miss Waiting for Prince Charming's post, uniformly commenting on her naveté. The Ugandan story is indeed an excellent example of how progress can evaporate when science is ignored and policy is more intent on saving souls than saving lives. (See below.)

Stay well, George.

Dr. Bob

re:hot third world latin boys Sep 5, 2005

Dr. Frascino, I am not bashing people for having bad judgment. I feel sorry for them. They are not getting what is going on--what has been going on for over 20 years, and over 40 million people now with AIDS. We have so much information out there and nobody is listening. Can you understand my frustration? We have AIDS walks, red ribbons, and many AIDS charities--constant reminders. I feel as though the money I donate to these causes isn't going anywhere because people see someone hot, hookup and suddenly forgot about the money they gave, the red ribbon they wore the day before, or the walk they participated in. And I am aware of you being HIV+, and I wish you many healthy years to come. I am not defending Bush nor the Republicans, but I do find it odd that Bush and the Republicans are bashed very often in this column by you and people posting questions. Politics has nothing to do with what people are doing with their sex lives. We all have the right to do whatever we want with our sex lives, but nobody should be putting blame on Bush or the Republicans or anyone else for that matter when they get HIV or even fear they have it. sincerely, Craig

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Craig,

Welcome back to the Forum.

O.K., I now believe you can read English. Yes, of course, I understand your frustration. As I mentioned, I've been intimately involved in the AIDS Pandemic since it was first recognized in the early 80s as an HIV/AIDS physician specialist. In addition, I devoted most of my professional life to HIV/AIDS research, education, advocacy and providing care. Since my occupational exposure in January 1991, I've also viewed this scourge from a rather unique vantage point. I've experienced HIV/AIDS from both sides of the examination table. I have not only the eyes and mind of an AIDS physician specialist, but also the body and soul of a person cohabitating with the virus.

AIDS walks, red ribbons and charities have played a critical role in HIV awareness and prevention. But I agree with you they are not enough, and even though we have "so much information out there," there are many reasons why it appears "nobody is listening." HIV/AIDS-education-and-prevention information is still not readily accessible to many, and in many places around the world, it's nonexistent. Even in this country, when is the last time you saw a condom ad on TV? And have you had a look at Bush's abstinence-only sex education programs. As it turns out, Bush and his sex-phobic, faith-based cronies have quite a bit "to do with what people are doing with their sex lives." For instance, take a look at what's happening with condoms in Uganda. While free condoms used to be widely available at clinics in Uganda, in the last year, they have virtually disappeared, and the condoms in stores have tripled in price. The reason for this is that Washington has shifted funds from providing condoms to groups promoting abstinence only. Sure, promoting abstinence and faithfulness are important in the fight against AIDS in Uganda. But so are condoms. One of the highest-risk groups in Uganda is married women infected by straying husbands. For these young women, abstinence is not an option, and they are already faithful. They need condoms to be able to protect themselves! Abstinence-only teaching does not work in the United States. That's been proven over and over again. And there is no reason to think it will work in Uganda. It seems obvious to all world health leaders that lives are saved when AIDS is treated as a public health challenge, not a moral crusade.

Craig, spend some time reading through the archives and related links. Hopefully it will enlighten you. I welcome you to funnel your frustration into action in the fight against AIDS. Don't just bitch and moan about the way things are. Do something to effect a positive change. That's really what this forum is all about. If nothing else, hopefully now you will realize I do have a serious side and do not trivialize the issues presented here. Remember even a wiseass can indeed be wise.

Dr. Bob



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