If you live your life among people whose lives, jobs or natural curiousity open their minds to the world, it is easy to forget how rigid some people are in their views. Today, I was sent a shocking reminder of the vitriol that comes with a small mind; it made me understand why some of what I say upsets people.
Here’s some of what I say: Over three decades of fertility and sexual behaviour surveys have recorded distinct differences in patterns of sexual networking around the world. Broadly, men and women in parts of sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to have a small number of steady partners at any one time; in other regions, people often have a lot more partners over a life time, but usually just one at a time (sex in nets versus sex in strings, I call it). HIV spreads more efficiently through sex in nets, and that in large part explains why two thirds of people with HIV live in Africa.
Those are facts. Not opinion, certainly not an expression of any judgement about the inherent superiority of any behaviour or moral code. But some people have suggested that simply stating those facts plays into the hands of people who believe that sex is bad and more sex is worse, and who use that judgement to light bonfires of hatred upon which whole races get burned. One such person is ZSUZSANNA, of the Faithful World Baptist Church (Doctrinal statement: “We believe that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination which God punishes with the death penalty”.)
“I would link to her blog to prove I am telling the truth, but I won’t because I thought the woman was inappropriate, vulgar, and a psycho.” says ZSUZSANNA of a stranger who had the audacity to conceive a child by in-vitro fertilisation. I feel exactly the same way about ZSUZSANNA, but I will link to her vitriolic blog, so that you can see I’m not making it up. Choice quote:
Maybe instead of handing out condoms like candy, these people should be taught not to live like animals and sleep with everyone and everything that moves. Statistics have proven over and over that distributing condoms RAISES the incidence of STDs. This is due to the fact that people will fornicate more because they feel safe…
Let’s leave aside this good Christian soul’s inability to interpret data (one she shares with a Bush-appointed former Secretary of Education, Bill Bennet.) How many of “these people” has she spoken to? Is she prepared to write off the millions of chuch-goers of Africa as “animals” just because of differences in the way sexual partnerships are structured?
In addressing HIV, I still believe it important to state the facts and address them appropriately. But if anything I say reinforces this kind of blind prejudice, I would be sincerely sorry.
I was alerted to this rant by Lazygal.