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Aids in Ireland and the Domino effect

6.14.2005

The release of figures relating to HIV/AIDS in this country is a veritable mixed bag, chock full of support for any side of the argument;


  1. Heterosexual contraction is down, but not definitely

  2. Sufferers of African origin make up nearly 50% of cases where geography is known

  3. Overall contraction is down nearly 10%.


As I said, a mixed bag. However it is undoubtedly the case that many of the vested interests in the AIDS debate are preparing their stance accordingly. The problem with the AIDS discussion is that it is going the same way as the abortion debate. No longer are we examining in a cool, rational manner the case before us, no longer do we seek the best solution for us all. We now sit in a black and white argument of morality and religion. The AIDS debate has been hijacked by religious groups and anti-immigration lobbyists. That’s not to say they cant hold a view on the topic but by drowning out the centre ground and by framing the debate in such Armageddon style and language they are giving little help to finding ways through the greatest threat to humanity in a long time.
The general consensus is that a case can be made for testing of immigrants for HIV on entry to this country. The localised view is that there is a need to insulate against the problem not promote a solution. This is nonsense and AIDs is the first truly globalised catastrophe, meriting a truly globalised response.Timee now for those little-irelanders/free-merketeers to put some money where their ideology is and see it as a global phenomenon requiring global solutions and movements.
To get any genuine movement on AIDs some gesture on condoms will be required from the Vatican and some moves on educational spending is required from the holders of conditional debt I.e. IMF and WB and western governments.
TB has already written off debt but he has not guaranteed that African countries can now spend money on health and education when they need it most. Conditionalities raise their heads again and none can deny the part the west is playing in killing off sub-Saharan Africa.
I am not some bleeding heart liberal, but any plain thinker can see that a batten down the hatches solution to AIDs is futile, we cannot build a wall around our island, nor can we ignore the incidents of it in Irish people. This is a disease borne out of ignorance. Our sex education in this country is abysmal because the vested educational interests (I.e. catholic providers) do not support sex-ed in schools nor the promotion of condoms. We are human and humans will have sex and reproduce, in order to affect change in our behaviour one must either invest in a guard for every citizen and legislate or educate a change in our behaviour.
The faith in medicine and globalisation to bring about solutions to these problems is sorely misguided at the present time. We need to change our attitude and take the lead in promoting sexual health not just in Ireland but in Europe and the World. The leaders of world religions have no right to condemn people to death by refusing to tackle AIDs on grounds of condoms/homosexuality and they should be told so. The fight must be maintained and strengthened, we need the government to actively force through genuine sexual health measures not piece meal attempts to inform and reliance on under funded voluntary groups.
It is one of the real moral imperatives and an indictment of human nature to leave people to die. If Museveni in Uganda becomes one of the best African leader at dealing with AIDS then think of the potential for non-despotic regimes to do good. If we let them.
Red Rover

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