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HIV Prevention and "Click It or Ticket": Are New Devices Safe?

January 27, 2014

Aaron Laxton

Aaron Laxton

After doing research on new safety devices being proposed to protect drivers and passengers of automobiles, I have come to a conclusion: There is no need for an increase in new safety devices.

There are several reasons why we don't need more safety devices and quite honestly it angers me when people suggest that we do. It is all about choices. If people follow laws, traffic signs and speed recommendations then we would see a huge reduction in traffic accidents and mortality rates.

Additionally, as drivers embrace new safety devices such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and seat belts it will obviously promote and ultimately facilitate an increase in reckless and careless driving. Not to mention that these new (and unproven) "safety" measures will also mean that people are driving more. This will inherently increase the statistical odds of more accidents.

Am I saying that accidents never happen? No! For the most part however, people who follow the rules rarely get into accidents. There is also the issue of compliance. If people truly want to avoid auto accidents, then all they have to do is follow the rules of the road. These new "safety devices" that are being proposed by certain groups have only proved to be effective when used.

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These same groups should also talk about the risk of injury posed to drivers and passengers of the vehicle should an airbag be deployed or anti-lock brakes lock up during a skid. There have been reports of side effects such as bruises, contusions, whiplash and even death as a result of the deployment of these new safety devices. More research needs to be conducted concerning how we can reduce these risks and increase driver/passenger safety-device utilization.

Next there is the cost of implementing use of these new "safety devices." How will it be paid for? Will insurance companies and auto-manufacturers be receptive to these new costs? To some extent this simply looks like an effort by the auto industry to bolster market share and to pad the pockets of shareholders. What data we have showing the efficacy of safety devices in automobiles has all been driven by the auto industry, so is there an issue of biased data sets?

In my opinion, we should not be pouring more money into safety measures that might work but instead use that money for increased education. Drivers simply need to use better choices when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Now re-read this entire article and consider if this entire piece were about HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The above stated arguments are the same ones that I hear each and every day regarding the use of PrEP. Many in the community feel as if we simply do not need anything other than condoms to fight and end new HIV infections. The "condom-only" message is falling on deaf ears and if we are serious about addressing those who are at greatest risk of becoming infected with HIV then we must embrace new technologies such as PrEP. We must consider PrEP even if there are those in the community who rail against anything other than condoms.

These are the same people who believe that the risk of harm/side effects exceeds the potential benefits. They seemingly fail to inform people that when taken consistently PrEP has been proven to reduce HIV infection by up to 99 percent. Just as risk-reduction (following traffic laws/speed limits) lowers the risk of having an auto accident, we must also adopt safety measures for those who will not embrace traditional risk-reduction strategies (condoms). By continuing to perpetuate the ill-conceived notion that "condoms alone" are going to end new HIV infections, you sound just as ridiculous as the statements presented at the start of this article.

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