AIDS: Reaping the Whirlwind

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by 007, May 14, 2005.

  1. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    AIDS: Reaping the Whirlwind​



    by Michael McKenzie


    Summary

    Despite what some activists and the media might say, medical authorities agree that AIDS is not a threat to everyone. If people would follow biblical guidelines for sex, and not abuse their bodies with drugs, the epidemic would stop. Because the disease is not spread casually, it is also ethically wrong and counterproductive to test everyone for the virus. With few exceptions, voluntary and confidential testing should be utilized. Christians should be quick to point out the failures in the secular approaches to the AIDS epidemic. AIDS presents Christians with new openings and challenges, and such challenges leave no place for either stridency or complacency.

    I will never forget my first experience with AIDS patients. I was participating in a seminar at the County U.S.C. Hospital in Los Angeles. Our class made the rounds with the attending physician in the AIDS ward on the seventh floor. Some of the patients reminded me of the horrible photographs of inmates in concentration camps: despite their youth, their bodies were emaciated shells, their faces pinched and gaunt.

    Today, these images of broken humanity are too often swept away by competing extremes of stridency and simplicity. Some say AIDS has little or nothing to do with promiscuity; it is simply a disease ignored by a "homophobic" public. Others claim AIDS is nothing less than a divine judgment against homosexuals — "They're getting just what they deserve."

    I believe Christians should strive for a more balanced approach. In this article I shall examine the current extent of the AIDS crisis and some of the ethical dilemmas that have arisen from it. I shall then conclude with a theological analysis and biblical prescription for a holistic sexual ethic.



    WHERE DO WE STAND TODAY?

    What Is AIDS?

    AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), like its name indicates, is not simply a single disease, but is a syndrome of one or more diseases brought on by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus works by attaching to the victim's immune system cells, replicating, and injecting its own genetic code into the cell.1 Thus, the immune system is weakened, eventually to the point where simple infections and diseases become life-threatening. It was this pattern of infection that allowed researchers in 1981 to first identify the virus. Two diseases which are easily repelled by healthy immune systems — pneumocystis carinii and Kaposi's sarcoma — were found in otherwise healthy, homosexual males. The epidemic had begun.



    Numbers of Cases

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently 13 million people infected with the AIDS virus worldwide, with 611,589 actual AIDS cases. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there are currently 1 million people infected, with 289,320 AIDS cases.2 Although some leveling out has occurred, the cases are not distributed evenly throughout the world. By the year 2000, it is estimated that 90 percent of all cases will be in the third world.3 Africa has been particularly ravaged, with Uganda reporting a possible adult infection rate of 11 percent, and part of Zambia, a staggering 20 percent.4

    In the United States, AIDS is currently the third leading cause of death among men aged 25-44. In New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, it is the leading cause of death among young men.5 Since 1981, a total of 182,275 people in this country have died of AIDS. The CDC projects that through 1994, the cumulative death toll will reach approximately 350,000.6



    Categories of Cases

    Since AIDS is a disease transmitted by the exchange of blood and/or body fluids, critical modes of transmission involve practices such as sexual intercourse and the sharing of intravenous (IV) drug needles. In 1992, approximately 87 percent of all AIDS cases in the United States were a result of homosexual contact, IV drug use, or both. 7 Currently, the figures show a slight decrease in the above categories of transmission to 84 percent.8

    In Asia and Africa, heterosexual cases predominate; there the disease is spread primarily by promiscuity, prostitution, and polygamy. In many areas prostitution, though technically illegal, is accepted socially. Some authorities in Thailand estimate there are over 800,000 child prostitutes there and a further 1.2 million adult ones.9 Since for Asian businessmen Thailand is a frequent destination for "sexual holidays," the possibilities for further spread are alarming. In some areas of Africa, infection rates of prostitutes are staggering: some 80 percent of Nairobi's, 90 percent of Rwanda's, and 64 percent of Congo's Pointe-Noire are carriers.10

    Polygamy and other cultural practices also contribute to the spread of the virus. In Tanzania, one man laughed when he read a poster explaining that safe sex meant having sex with only one faithful partner. "What am I going to do with my other wives?" he asked. In parts of Zambia, when a man dies his male relatives are obligated to have sex with his widow. Since it is not uncommon there for married men to die of AIDS, the potential for further spread is obviously enhanced.11 Though it is too early to tell, AIDS has been so devastating to some African populations that population growth among young adults — those most sexually active and the most productive economically — may actually reverse itself. An entire generation may be at risk there.12

    An even more appalling statistic is that more and more babies are being born already infected with the AIDS virus. In the U.S. there are currently 3,605 children under age five who have full-blown AIDS, most of whom received the virus in utero from an infected mother.13 Most of the women who gave birth to these babies were either IV drug users or sexual partners of IV drug users. It is estimated that the infection rate from HIV-positive mothers to their fetuses is approximately 33 percent.14 Children with AIDS have a particularly difficult time when attacked by the virus. Opportunistic infections and diseases usually kill infants with AIDS in less than one year.15


    ... more here...

    http://www.equip.org/free/DA130.htm
     
  2. Shattered
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    That whole comment included the following (which you forgot to bold/red):

    ... IV drug use, or both.

    You forgot to thank *everyone* involved for the spread of aids rather than just a single group of people... If one is going to lay blame, they should lay it at the feet of *everyone* involved; not just the select group that furthers a particular agenda.
     
  3. SmarterThanYou
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    lets also not forget that the rampant spread of aids in africa is due to the ignorance of a population with a myth that aids can be cured through sex with a virgin, accounting for thousands of rapes of girls as young as months old. :cry:
     
  4. Shattered
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    Exactly.. Although, he only highlighted the US, so that's what I used...
     
  5. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yeah... shoud've done that. Good catch Shattered. I posted that in the morning before work and was in a hurry. Took care of it though.
     
  6. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, Africa has major problems...

    http://www.aidsandafrica.com/2003_aids_country_data.htm
     
  7. alien21010
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    alien21010 Member

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    While I agree that the most reliable method to preventing the spread of the disease is monogamous relationships, I fear it is too late for this "bliblical" savior. What about those who are born with the debilitating disease?

    Sensible containment should have been enacted by Reagan, instead of turning a deaf ear towards the disease. Now we have no options, but to test everyone, and potentially segregate the have's from the have not's.
     
  8. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I disagree. AIDS is still easily avoidable. Chastity before marriage, fidelity afterwards. And of course avoiding drug use. If people did that the disease would be erradicated within two generations.
     
  9. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    It is possible to keep newborns from getting AIDS from their mothers. So not all newborns are lost. But hte fact remains that monogamous sex within marriage and abstaining from IV drug use would eradicate AIDS. But nobody wants to listen to that advice.

    And I take issue with the assertion that Reagan did nothing for AIDS. The fact is that Reagan both talked about AIDS and did something about it.

    As to your suggestion to segregate those with AIDS, do you really think the gay community, not to mention the ACLU, would go along with that? They opposed it in 1981, when segregation could have stopped AIDS from becoming an epidemic.
     
  10. alien21010
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    alien21010 Member

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    I am completely in agreement with the above two posters.

    Quarantining those who had the disease, or those who were susceptible would completely eradicate the disesase. Instead we let them continue to infect others, and spread the pandemic, which has now claimed half a million lives (in America alone).
     

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