An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Crazy Letters and Views

I am going into 'serious mode' again. I just have to report and comment on some of the crazy stuff that you see in the letters section of the newspapers here. This was from a little while ago:
Make condoms an illegal product
The AIDS virus is spreading across our nation and the globe like a bushfire. Any mode of preventive measures by the governments and other agencies have failed as far as the records and statistics are concerned.
The AIDS prevention 'awareness' campaigns have so far campaigned with double-edged slogans. On one hand, "AIDS is a virus that kills the human race by way of sexual contact". On the other , "It is okay to have sexual contact s long as you use a condom".
The double-edged scenario here is that "it is okay by laws of this land or by any standards to have sex outside marriage and have fun. As long as one uses a condom he or she doesn't contact the AIDS virus and pass onto the married partner". It basically means that the laws allow sexual contact and adultery but it's unlawful to pass the AIDS virus onto your partner, as this would eventually be passed onto the other's married partner.
What a joke! By any standard, having sex outside marriage is supposed to unlawful and traditionally unethical and the law of this land prohibits that.
Now the AIDS awareness campaigners and their agencies are promoting that sex outside marriage is alright as long as a condom is used, but is illegal to pass and multiply the AIDS virus to others. We should talk real and serious on this deadly virus by upholding any law on sex outside marriage and immediately put a stop to and make condoms an illegal commodity in the country.
Eric, Goroka

Hmmm, where to start on this. First, I am not sure where he is getting these quotes from, but my hunch is that they are ones he is just making up. I can't imagine an AIDS awareness campaigner saying "it is okay to have sex outside marriage and have fun".

Second, his argument seems to be the old 'abstinence vs. condoms' one, although he goes in a roundabout way by saying the law should step in and police adultery - easier said than done. That approach is also forgetting a large swath of the population who are sexually active, yet not married - something he just seems to have forgotten.

Thirdly, he doesn't actually say it but I assume he blames condoms for promoting promiscuity hence they should all be banned. It is a disjointed argument and I am kind of hoping that the reason is because of the editing done by the Post-Courier. Otherwise it looks like I am attacking a poorly written diatribe that doesn't even deserve mentioning.

It seems like they are breeding these guys up in Goroka. At the Goroka show last year there was a stand by a local AIDS awareness group, that went against all convention and logic by condemning condoms in a very public way. They wanted to get rid of condoms as well not because they promote promiscuity, but because they don't work. Had handwritten drawings and diagrams were tacked up in the stand to aid their argument, that the AIDS virus passes straight through and therefore do not use them. I think their alternative advice was just to abstain.

The guys there were probably Catholic, or have been reading some of the stuff that the Vatican has been saying in recent years i.e. that condoms are permeable and the virus passes straight though. According to the WHO though that is of course a load of bollocks.

I have nothing against the abstinence argument, but recent reports suggest that this just does not work. There is no doubt though that condoms need to be used as the chief weapon to fight this battle.

Unfortunately everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if they are backward. Hopefully education will be able to not only help defeat the looming AIDS crisis here but also the backward thinkers - a double-edged attack.