30 Nov A Little “Stigmatization” Goes A Long Way…
Mary Jane Fritzen
Recently PBS Newshour included a sad segment about the increasing numbers of young Americans with HIV. “Teens and young adults now account for more than a quarter of the new cases of HIV identified in the United States annuals, and a clear majority of those cases involve young gay or bisexual men, the federal government said in a major news survey Tuesday.” Gay men are still the American population most at risk for AIDS . What can we do? The Center for Disease Control said we should remove the stigma so that more will seek diagnosis and help, and we should increase education and condoms.
Would it not be more effective to warn young people about the cause-effect relationship between homosexual relations and HIV-AIDS? Of course the disease is also spread in other ways of transmitting bodily fluids from one person to another, through used hypodermic needles or infected blood transfusions. Babies born to mothers with AIDS are innocent victims. When some persons acquired AIDS due to blood transfusions from infected persons, immediately blood donors were screened and transfusions made safe. AIDS is spread in several ways; nevertheless it is a sexually transmitted disease. Knowing that homosexual relations transmit HIV, why not link the cause to its effect?
Is there a parallel in our experience identifying smoking with lung cancer?
During the past decades, when smoking was popular, courageous physicians testified it caused lung cancer, and so Americans have since stigmatized smoking. Not all smokers acquire lung cancer and not all lung cancer is caused by smoking, but fewer people die of lung cancer now that popular sentiment is against it. Considering the cause-effect, could we help prevent HIV-AIDS by discouraging homosexual relations instead of popularizing gays and their behaviors? We must be kind and respectful, but the pendulum seems to be swinging too far in the opposite direction.
Certainly none of us are perfect and there are plenty of bad habits and behaviors that need addressing and correcting. But instead of assuming that homosexuals have no choice but to act upon their inclinations, let’s be open and honest about what the consequences of those inclinations might be. The last thing we need to be doing is popularizing and normalizing a behavior that has such life-threatening consequences. It appears to me that some “stigmatization” could save some young people’s lives.
Editor’s note: Mary Jane Fritzen is UFI’s newest blogger. At over 80 years old, she’s an articulate and dedicated supporter of the family. She’s an inspiration to us all!