Liberated Christians
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Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality



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AIDS RISK IN AFRICA
VASTLY DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN COUNTRIES OR THE U.S.

The CDC has stated the African AIDs situation has no relevance to most of the rest of the world. The dynamics are just totally different.

In much of rural Africa, male/female anal sex is practiced more than vaginal sex because of the mutilating type of cliteredectomies performed on young girls. They are sometime sewn up so tightly as to restrict menstrual flow, and if they ever succeed in becoming pregnant, must be cut open to deliver the baby. Because of this, anal sex is more prevalent. And if vaginal sex is attempted, there is much abrasion and bleeding, both conditions which are common in anal sex and the means by which AIDS is most easily spread.

Prostitute studies in other areas, especially the sex capitals of Asia show prostitution is not spreading HIV to the millions of male customers. This also shows the low risk of female to male heterosexual transfer. Clearly prostitution has never been a vector for HIV in the U.S. or other Western countries. Absent STD sores on the penis, it is very very difficult to transfer HIV female to male via sex.

In Africa there are all sorts of rituals (circumcision, excision, scarification, body piercing, and others) that use very unsanitary conditions with cutting tools used on many people without any cleaning. Whole generations of boys and girls can be contaminated by a single knife. in a village. Men have ornaments in their penis creating open sores and STD's are extremely common. HIV is easily spread when you have open STD sores which is common in Africa.

In Africa, a phenomenal amount of HIV is transferred by hospitals who don't have funds to check for HIV for blood transfusions. Most African hospitals reuse syringes till they are so dull they won't puncture skin. Most African hospitals don't have the funds for autoclaves to sterilize surgical instruments to western standards.

African Prostitutes and other women commonly use various methods to "dry out" their vaginas (sometimes with detergent) to increase friction during intercourse, which also then increases the risk for abrasions and HIV infection.

Also Africa has a very high rate of TB which has been shown to be closely associated with potentially developing AIDS.

AIDS is certain conditions and lowered immune response that has been common in Africa for centuries. Some of what is now AIDS is the new name for old diseases that result from inadequate health care, widespread malnutrition, endemic infections and unsanitary water supplies.

Even the definition of AIDS differs from one continent to another. In Europe and America, AIDS-defining diseases include 29 unrelated maladies ranging from pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis to cervical cancer. In addition, an HIV-positive test and a T-cell count below 200 are necessary for a confirmed diagnosis.

But in Africa, the term "AIDS" is used to describe symptoms associated with a number of previously known diseases. In the mid-1980s, those common diseases were suddenly reclassified as "special opportunistic AIDS-related infections"

So why are AIDS cases in Africa nearly evenly divided between men and women? The answer lies in the World Health Organization's definition of "AIDS" in Africa which differs decisively from AIDS in the West. The WHO's clinical-case definition for AIDS in Africa (adopted in 1985) is not based on an HIV test or T-cell counts but on the combined symptoms of chronic diarrhea, prolonged fever, 10 percent body weight loss in two months and a persistent cough, none of which are new or uncommon on the African continent.

HIV TESTS are notoriously unreliable in Africa. A 1994 study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases concluded that HIV tests were useless in central Africa, where the microbes responsible for tuberculosis, malaria and leprosy were so prevalent that they registered over 70 percent false positive results.

Furthermore, everything we know about viruses tells us that they are equal opportunity microbes. They will attack men and women weakened by malnutrition, the most effective cause of immune suppression. Venereal diseases left untreated can also impair one's immunity, rendering any victim susceptible to other infections. Africans are often assumed to die from "AIDS-like" symptoms after their immune systems have been weakened by malaria, tuberculosis, cholera or parasitic diseases.

Of course, people everywhere should be encouraged to behave more thoughtfully in their sexual lives. They should be provided with reliable counseling about condom use, contraception, family planning and venereal diseases. But whether in Cameroon or California, sex education must no longer be distorted by terrifying, dubious misinformation that equates sex with death.

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