Prevention -- or politics?

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2001

With the Taliban crushed, Daniel Ortega defeated and the bears asleep, Juneau's leftists are now, it seems, free to devote time to propagandizing for socialized medicine and gay rights with plenty of time left over to frighten middle school students all in the guise of celebrating World AIDS Day.

Actually eradicating a deadly disease in the manner of wiping out smallpox or polio seems a low priority, not when there is such a fine excuse for candlelight vigils and attacking political and social conservatives.

Shanti, I'm thinking, is a lot more about politics than it is about curing disease.

Take Shanti's fund-raiser at the Silverbow, for example: a showing of the film "Chocolate Babies." I'll quote the plot line: "a drama about a band of HIV-positive guerrillas that stage an attack on New York City conservatives." I wonder, is the setting the World Trade Center?

Part of Shanti's propaganda blitz is aimed at our middle school students. Why, I wonder? According to the CDC's HIV/AIDS annual report, teens comprised less than 1 percent of new AIDS/HIV cases in 2000.

According to the CDC report, there is no longer an AIDS epidemic in the U.S. The AIDS epidemic peaked in 1993 with 106,000 new cases, and fell off the CDC's top 15 list in 1998. Today the new infection rate is about 40,000 annually.

That's 40,000 too many, and one could make a good argument that groups such as Shanti are more a part of the problem than the solution. By placing such a big emphasis on "educating" mainstream students, Shanti robs resources from efforts needed elsewhere. Wouldn't Shanti be a lot more effective if it targeted intravenous drug users who share dirty needles and homosexual men with multiple anonymous sex partners? Only 11 percent of the new AIDS cases are heterosexuals, according to the CDC report.

This might be a good week for parents to ask a few serious questions about exactly what message Shanti is delivering to their children without opportunity for rebuttal.

Richard Schmitz

Juneau



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