Letters to the editor

How to help on World AIDS Awareness Day

Dear Editor:

This Thursday, Nov. 29, is Kent State’s World AIDS Awareness Day, a day for remembrance and action. More than 25 million people have died of AIDS, and currently more than 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS with no known cure. This is not an issue isolated to third world countries, but it is truly a global pandemic. Fifty-five young people contract HIV every day in America and become part of the 40,000 Americans infected with HIV every year.

More important than knowing these figures is knowing how to prevent these figures. Abstinence is 100 percent effective, but if you are not abstinent, it is important to protect yourself. “Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV,” according to the CDC. Birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; latex condoms can be up to 99 percent effective when used consistently and correctly.

If you would like to get more involved on World AIDS Awareness Day please join us tomorrow in Risman Plaza. We will have information on preventing sexually transmitted infections/HIV and how you can help support legislation that will help decrease HIV/AIDS figures here in America and throughout the world.

Specifically please support the passage of the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act H.R 1653/S.972 and the PATHWAYS Act H.R 1713. The REAL act would provide federal funding for the proven effective Comprehensive Sexuality Education, and the PATHWAYS Act would remove proven ineffective Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage from our foreign HIV/AIDS prevention programs. You can support this legislation by signing our petitions in Risman plaza on Thursday or by writing to your Representative or Senator. Simply signing a petition could save lives.

In this season of giving please support saving lives through legislation.

Colin V. Dean

President, Eta Sigma Gamma

Senior health/physical education major

HIV/AIDS is a problem everyone should consider

Dear Editor:

Recently a letter was published that gave a quite extreme view of the worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic and our country’s response to it.

First, World AIDS Awareness Day is not a day recognized only by liberals in our country. It has been made to sound as though this is a made-up holiday observed by a religious group (liberals) in order to force repugnant views of that group on the more reasonable majority of the population. The word WORLD is a part of the title for a reason; HIV/AIDS does not know the difference between race, culture, gender, sexual orientation or, believe it or not, political affiliation. Is there really no existence of a conservative who is HIV positive or afflicted with AIDS? Or even concerned with the pandemic that has swept our entire world?

Perhaps the inferred association between religion and political stance is due to the author’s own understanding about the origin of the disease. I am not a theologist, but I am unaware of any passage of the Bible that specifically states that HIV/AIDS is a plague to rid the earth of sinners (even the innocent who require blood transfusions!), and if you’d like to take the religious point of view, everyone is a sinner. Is there a specific disease each of us will be struck with should we perform a specific transgression? At times I have questioned the interpretation of the Constitution as far as the issue of separation of church and state, but it is opinions such as this that make it quite evident why that separation is necessary. It is this belief that disease is sent by a higher power as punishment for sins that has prevented education of people in third-world countries as it is; how do you condemn these people for not learning how to prevent the disease when you condone the incorrect belief system upon which they base their actions?

This separation of church and state is also what prevents our government from spending money on “Abstinence Only” campaigns. We cannot legislate morality; it is the responsibility of the parents and the church of their choice to instill the qualities they would like their children to display. It is only the responsibility of the government to provide information in the prevention of such issues, and all the information must be made available. While abstinence is cited as the only reliable method of avoiding both disease and pregnancy, one must be realistic. Would it really be helpful to tell children that abstinence is the only way to avoid AIDS? I deem it an impossibility to forever prevent teenagers and the unmarried population from engaging in sexual relations by fear alone. What is to happen to those who stray and have no information about protection? Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?

As far as the opinion that the inhabitants of third world countries should not engage in sexual relations and that they are incapable of learning, well, I’ll just say that I’m surprised that someone who has such an advanced education in the area of international politics has such a closed view of the world.

Roberta Redfern

Doctoral candidate, biochemistry