By Micah Clark – BarbWire guest columnist
We live in a very odd world when basic words really don’t mean what they used to mean. If that sounds silly, consider how the words marriage, tolerance and discrimination, now have different meanings.
There’s a new medical story that raises some questions about the real meaning of compassion and caring. I have often said that all choices and behaviors are not equal, which has led to my being called all sorts of names and some nasty voicemails over the years. I have to wonder what kinds of messages the World Health Organization (WHO) will get if their recent announcement receives significant media coverage.
Gottfried Hirnschall, head of the World Health Organization’s HIV department, is warning that HIV/AIDS is a worldwide epidemic among homosexual men. “Rates of HIV infection among men who have sex with men remain high almost everywhere and new prevention options are urgently needed,” Hirnschall said. The WHO is now strongly recommending that homosexual males consider antiretroviral medications to help prevent HIV infection that leads to AIDS. The approach, called pre-exposure prophylaxis, calls for uninfected homosexuals (and transgendered) to take a preventive pill every day.
I have been told that the cost of such drugs in the US could equate to $15,000 per year, per person. Yet, even if every homosexual male took these drugs, the WHO says that it would have limited success with HIV rates that would “ultimately fall by as much as 25 percent.” That’s not great odds for those 75% who could find themselves in the HIV infected group.
The WHO notes that homosexual men are 19 times more likely to become infected with the terminal illness than the general population. Female prostitutes are 14 times more likely to become infected with HIV. Intravenous drug users are at the highest risk of any group.
Can we pause with that stat for one moment? There is hardly a more medically risky behavior imaginable than prostitution. Yet, simply being a “gay” man carries a 25% greater risk of dying of AIDS than that same fate from being a hooker.
I am not against a truly preventative medication, even an expensive one. No one with any compassion would wish a horrible disease like AIDS upon anyone. Yet, nowhere in the WHO’s grim warning is there any suggestion that countries should not promote homosexual behavior among children. There is no mention of counseling, even for those who want to overcome same-sex attraction.
Before our era of relative truth and political correctness this was the normative approach. Homosexual behavior was simply not championed. Further, as Dr. Jeffrey Satinover notes in his book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, “between 1966 and 1974, more than 1,000 articles appeared in the Medline databases alone on the treatment of homosexuality, showing evidence that homosexual behavior is treatable and changeable.”
Today, giving someone a pill and telling him to march on with a 25% risk reduction for a deadly disease apparently equates to compassion and good policy. A better idea would seem to involve telling people that there is a far healthier way to live, as God or nature intended, and helping them leave a dangerous lifestyle. Ironically, in this age of doublespeak, it was George Orwell who noted, “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”
Micah Clark is the Executive Director of the American Family Association of Indiana.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.