I had a few days away from home with my family, which was lovely. My children are now old enough to be hearty travelers, and although we still tote quite a lot of luggage, it’s not nearly as much as we took along when they were smaller. I think we got to do everything that they wanted to do- which is what spring break should be like, I think. The grown-ups got to eat at grown up restaurants, and the kids ordered off the grown-up menu. I was at one point told that they don’t NEED the kids menu anymore. You have no idea (or maybe you do), that after literally years of chicken nuggets and fries, I was just delighted to see them eating shrimp and fettucine with vegetables that they couldn’t necessarily identify straight away. I’m not a huge fan of theme parks (just for myself), but we do brave the crowds and go once every few years… and we all had fun. This part of the vacation was awesome.
One of the mornings though, I was waking up and my kids flipped on the TV… to the news. I guess the pope is visiting Africa right now. Apparently he had a few things to say about the spread of HIV and the use of condoms… I’ll just quote straight from The Guardian:
The pontiff said condoms were not the answer to the continent’s fight against HIV and Aids and could make the problem worse.
I literally wanted to vomit into the trash can in the hotel room. Some 22 million people, yes that’s right folks- human beings, men, women and CHILDREN, are infected with HIV in Africa. HIV has driven the epidemic of Tuberculosis… rates of TB infection have something like doubled or tripled since the 1990s… and we are talking about babies here… And this in a part of this world that is extremely poor, and totally and utterly unable to fight this rising burden and win. Yes, uh huh, right here in the good old US of A a single person gets on a plane with MDR TB and it dominates the headlines for DAYS (remember that??)- while in Africa the HIV, ( and TB) crisis is deepening by the instant… and this mouthpiece gets up on the stage and poo-bahs one of the very few, relatively inexpensive, public health tools we have to slow the spread of this massive problem… that for all you public health beginners out there… will almost certainly NOT STAY confined to Africa.
Some people (especially those with huge audiences) should keep their personal opinions, not based on science but based on their own opinion and beliefs, to THEMSELVES. Those of you that belong to this church- if you care about the health and welfare of your fellow human being, and about the children left parentless, homeless in Africa by this crisis, I urge you to put personal beliefs aside and donate the money that you might give in collection basket in church today- instead to a worthy organizations like UNICEF that works to fight HIV and TB in these nations that need our help. Better yet, find an organization that purchases and distributes condoms in Africa, and give them your $$. (I don’t know much about this organization, but a quick google search brought up this one)