The politically correct mantra about HIV/AIDS is that “anybody can get it.” This half-truth is as bizarre as pointing to the tragic death of professional naturalist Steve Irwin, best known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” and saying “anyone can die from the barb of a stingray.” There is an obvious missing piece in both instances. You’re not going to die from a stingray’s barb unless you dive in waters that are home to stingrays. Likewise, unless you (1) Have intimate sexual contact with someone who is infected with the HIV/AIDS virus, (2) Share contaminated needles to do drugs, or (3) Are a healthcare worker who comes in direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person (or as in the heartrending case of Kimberly Bergalis, who contracted AIDS from her infected dentist), you will not, I repeat, you will NOT contract HIV/AIDS.
Another phony slogan foisted off on the public is that women are the “new face of HIV/AIDS.” These myths are among the pernicious efforts to disperse the stigma associated with a disease that is almost exclusively a homosexual male and drug addict epidemic. Insidious myths like these leave today’s young people misinformed, misled and, thus, unprotected.
In fact, Unprotected is the title of an important book that every parent of teenage children needs to read. It exposes the political correctness that leaves college students especially vulnerable to a whole range of health and emotional problems. The author, Miriam Grossman, M.D., is a psychiatrist who has worked for two decades with college students and served during the past decade at the student health center at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Others have commented on various aspects of Dr. Grossman’s exposé of the biases that harm students at university student health centers. I was especially appalled that basic medical knowledge about the transmission of the HIV/AIDS virus is kept from students. In spite of the fact that we are now well past the quarter century mark in the AIDS epidemic, and in spite of the fact that 1 in every 500 college students may be HIV positive, basic HIV/AIDS information is not known by the general public; our students in particular, the very ones most in need of truth to reinforce self-discipline, are not fully informed about the facts.
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