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Author Topic: Homosexuality, Morality, and AIDS
Baldar
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Then I would have to disagree with Tigger on that ground, unless he uses the context that most homosexuals knowingly practice unsafe sex and so are therefore immoral.

This lends itself to the question of whether most homosexuals do practice unsafe sex. If they do, then he has a point, if they do not, then he does not have a point.

[This message has been edited by Baldar (edited October 16, 2002).]


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TomDavidson
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See, I think Baldar's problem is that he read Wayward Son's very first post and assumed it was directed at HIM.

Admittedly, it would have helped if Tigger had posted to the thread, so Jeff might have realized we weren't talking to him at all.


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Locus
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Tom,

It goes beyond that. This whole line of thought is akin to "a nut who's bombs kill people 15% of the time is evil and one who's bombs only kill 2% of the time is less evil even though he sets 20 times as many bombs as nut #1". There are so many holes in this way of thinking it resembles a sponge. Nut #2 may simply be inept at bomb building.

People who engage in consensual unprotected sex are simply making a choice...perhaps a bad choice ..but it is merely a choice...no evil involved unless there is some form of intent to cause harm. (deception qualifies)


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Baldar
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quote:
People who engage in consensual unprotected sex are simply making a choice...perhaps a bad choice ..but it is merely a choice...no evil involved unless there is some form of intent to cause harm. (deception qualifies)

If you practice unsafe sex, you are only as safe as the last test and the next encounter. There is responsibility there and if you ignore it, being in a high risk group, then you are committing an evil.

Gee, I didn't know "for sure" at the time I carried the AIDS virus so I must be innocent.

That doesn't wash.

I think if you innocently spread the AIDS virus, having somehow been exposed to it without knowledge or suspicion, then I would tend to agree you are not committing an evil act.

Homosexuals are not evil by nature, anymore than anyone else is. However, being knowingly irresponsible is evil.


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Locus
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"Gee, I didn't know "for sure" at the time I carried the AIDS virus so I must be innocent."

In consentual sex all parties take responsiblity for their own safety. If you choose to have unprotected sex with someone ..and get sick or die as a result of that choice ..so be it ...accepting the penalties for your choices is what it is to be responsible.

If you want to go play on the highway ...knock yourself out...but I don't want a whining convention started about how people who drive on highways are evil when you get yourself killed.

If deception is involved ..if you take away someone's ability to make an informed choice...that's leading a blind deaf child into the street to play and a completely different story.


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Everard
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So, in general, if you know you have a disease, or might have a disease, that can be fatal, and are irresponsible about that disease, you are evil?

[This message has been edited by Everard (edited October 16, 2002).]


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Baldar
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Yes. Because you knowingly are willing to kill or risk their lives others for your own momentary pleasure.

In consensual sex, if you tell another person you probably have AIDS and they still want to have sex with you, then it is consensual, not before.


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Everard
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"Yes. Because you knowingly are willing to kill or risk their lives others for your own momentary pleasure."

I didn't ask about "for pleasure." I'm asking, in general. In any situation, with any disease.


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Wayward Son
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I think the issue here is negligence. It's like drunk driving--you may drive drunk plenty of times and never hurt anyone. Then one day you take out a family. You may not have hurt anyone before, but you can't say it was "just an accident." The possible consequences were clear before you drove.

I believe we are a bit less harsh on those who spread AIDS than drunk drivers because those involved in the former are both consenting and know the risks. But it is still negligent behavior.

Of course, in a world where people routinely smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol excessively, gain weight excessively, skydive, scuba dive, drive fast, drink soda pop excessively, listen to too-loud rock music, etc. etc. etc.--it's hard to know when you cross the line from "stupid" to "evil."


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Locus
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The drunk driving comparison doesn't work precisely because it involves innocent bystanders.

It's comparing murder to suicide.

With consentual sex there are no innocent bystanders.

Edited the because to lower case...the caps made me feel like the freaky stress-disorder affected teacher from "Daria".

[This message has been edited by Locus (edited October 16, 2002).]


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Wayward Son
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OK, how about playing Russian roulette with a friend?

(Do friends let friends play Russian roulette? )

You still know that the person you're with might die from this action. You, too. So there is a factor of at least gross stupidity, boarding on evil, involved with the activity.


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Baldar
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Your playing word games Locus. Do you believe that not telling your partner you might have AIDS based on your lifestyle that this is not evil? Why not?
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Baldar
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I believe that homosexuality is immoral, however that is no reason to deny the use of sex. Yes irresponsible sex is practiced in all orientations, no argument here. However, the degree to which irresponsible sex impacts (read kills) in the homosexual community because of AIDS, is particularly vile because it does kill. So because of circumstances, the homosexual community has a "heightened" responsibility because it is much more dangerous for the homosexual community than the heterosexual community.

To deny that is to deny sexual responsibility for disclosure and actions.


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Locus
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Baldar,

If you're having a hard time following something I've said ..please let me know which parts are giving you trouble and I will try alternate ways of expressing them. I assure you I'm NOT playing word games.

Now then ..in response to your question.

I've already answered it above when I made allowances for cases of deception. Apparently you didn't get that so I'll try again.

When you do anything in life the burden of responsibility is on YOU. If you are contemplating swapping body fluids with someone then you should ask all the pertinent questions. If the person is dishonest with their answers then we'll add them to your evil list. Otherwise ...the decision you make based off your question and answer session you'll have to live with. Blaming your partner for their past sexual history is just whining at that point. YOU made the bad judgement call that exposed you to it ..deal with it.

Wayward Son,

The Russian roulette problem is a complicated one. So long as you're pointing the gun at yourself ..then it's suicide and you each take responsibility for your own possible death. Beyond that ...hrm...two people who are trying to terminate their own lives are in a questionable mental state ...so there is no reasonable expectation that they would try to talk each other out of it. There are alot more permutations of this situation to explore...so much so that it could easily take up it's own thread.


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Baldar
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Eddie I suggest you educate yourself in regards to the AIDS virus. You can start here:

Time magazine Europe

HIV Aids mens site

Specifically:

quote:
HIV Prevention Messages Failing To Convince Gays: Condom-Free Anal Sex Keeps Virus On Increase
April 5, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO (San Francisco Chronicle) -- A small but worrisome proportion of gay men in the Bay Area are engaging in unprotected anal intercourse, knowingly putting themselves at risk for AIDS, a groundbreaking health study shows.

The study demonstrates that despite years of programs promoting the use of condoms as a means of HIV prevention, some gay men are nonetheless actively seeking out partners who will have unprotected sex with them, elevating concerns about rising HIV infection rates.

Authors of the study said it underscored the need for a new approach to prevention.

"What it says is that, in this group, other needs supersede prevention of HIV transmission," said Gordon Mansergh, lead author of the study and a behavioral scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"Our conclusion was that we need to develop new prevention interventions differently. People are decidedly not using a condom. The old way is not working."

The study by researchers at the CDC and San Francisco's Department of Public Health is the first serious analysis of the practice of "barebacking," in which gay or bisexual men intentionally engage in sex without a condom with someone other than their primary partner.

Seventy percent of the 554 gay men contacted for the survey said they were familiar with barebacking, and of those, 14 percent said they had engaged in the practice within the past two years. Twentytwo percent of HIV-positive men had done so, compared with 10 percent of HIV-negative men.

The primary reasons the men cited for engaging in barebacking was greater physical stimulation and "emotional connection."
Participants in the survey were recruited at bars, dance clubs and community organizations in San Francisco and Oakland, and the study was conducted between July 2000 and February 2001.

The practice of barebacking has grown at the same time that rates of HIV infection have begun to rebound in San Francisco. City health experts estimate that there will be 700 to 800 new HIV infections in San Francisco this year, numbers rivaling the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Some community activists have been calling for expanded public
health outreach efforts to look at the totality of gay men's health, from fitness and cancer to mental health and substance abuse.

Eric Rofes, professor of education at Humboldt State University, said the study's conclusion recommends just that.

The study authors "seem to be understanding we need to work with gay men on broader health and wellness issues, instead of focusing solely on HIV," Rofes said. "In doing that, it will help us reduce the number of HIV infections."

The barebacking phenomenon is occurring with increasing frequency through connections made on gay Web sites and chat rooms, gym steam rooms, commercial sex clubs and bars, said Keith Folger, who heads the Prevention for Positives program at the Stop AIDS Project.

Half of the men in the study who said they engaged in
barebacking did so while they were on drugs or alcohol. Men also cited improved treatments for HIV disease as reasons for having more unprotected sex.

"(Barebacking) comes up at every event we have," Folger said. "In addition to figuring out how men should disclose their (HIV-positive) status, they want to know how they can go home and have sex without a condom."

Folger has talked to other HIV- positive men who have abandoned condoms to avoid the hassles and negative guys who go latex-free just for the feel.

"We've failed in prevention by not asking the 25-year-old gay or bisexual men, "What is it about HIV that you're not afraid of?"' Folger said. "There's a psychosocial illness in San Francisco. Despite how hard we've been hit by AIDS in this city, there's a silence around HIV. It's no longer in people's faces, yet people are still dying."

Study co-author Grant Colfax, director of HIV prevention studies at the Department of Public Health, said the study highlighted "shifting social norms" in the gay community.

"This is the hard-core group, but they're having an influence on those who might not identify as being part of the barebacking phenomenon," Colfax said.

"We need to begin talking about negotiated safety, not using drugs while engaging in unprotected sex, appeal to HIV-positive men's altruism to not spread the disease and drive home the message that AIDS isn't cured. You can still get HIV."

Copyright 2002 The San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved.


I am assuming you don't read the LA Times either which also ran a similar more recent article regarding the problem.

An important site for you would this one regarding the increase in AIDS to hispanics CDC HIV fact sheet

Then there is this:

Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
University of California, San Francisco

Gay and Lesbian health issues

quote:
Losing Ground Against AIDS

New York Times (01/06/94) P. A21 (Gagnon, John)

Health officials have failed to focus on homosexuals and intravenous drug users--the two groups at highest risk for AIDS infection--in their prevention efforts, contends John Gagnon, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


After you have read some of these you might be able to make more insightful posts regarding the issue.


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ender wiggin
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Eddie,
quote:
If we can teach kids that condoms are necessary in all relationships, heterosexual or homosexual, then I'm sure this high infection rate will go down.

Sex without a condom is not inherently unsafe.
Examples:

A couple that has only had sex with each other and want to get pregnant.
A couple that has only had sex with each other and use birth control.
A couple that have both tested negative for STD's and use birth control.

Teaching kids that sex is inherently unsafe is going to give them serious physiological problems.

Don't make stupid statements that you know to be untrue; it undermines the rest of your argument.

Anyway, Condoms are not safe. The pregnancy rate for people that use condoms every time for a year is 20%. Moreover, pregnancy can occur only at some times where as diseases can be caught at any time. Using a condom is safer but casual sex, even with a condom, is inherently unsafe.

[This message has been edited by ender wiggin (edited October 17, 2002).]


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Baldar
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Apparently you didn't bother to read the links, they would have answered your question quite clearly.
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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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Actually condoms are only 86% effective. I couldn't find a reliable source saying if that was due to human stupidity or that 14% of condoms produced are bad. I'm going with the former.
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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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If you add spermicide it shoots up to 99%.
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Luny
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"You will have to also show me how the common cold kills more people than AIDS, especially given the fact that AIDS has a higher kill rate for those who catch it than the common cold." AIDS doesn't actually kill people. Its the cold or flu or pneumonia that they catch afterward that kills them.

You also have to base your verison of immorality on wether or not the infected is virtually guarenteed to die at some point in time due to an affect of the infection.

Falken your degrees system doesn't really work. Yes it is evil, in my opinion, to never have sex with anyone. Our whole point of existence is to perpetuate the species (though to what end I don't know). There ARE consequences to only having had sex with one person though surely less extreme. You haven't addressed wether your partner has ever had other partners, transfussions, IV drug use, etc. There are also some STDs that aren't aren't transmitted via intercourse, such as various herpes strains (like chicken pox which can be lethal in adults and cold sores which CAN spread to pubic sores). Did you also know that things like yeast infections CAN be spread to men? While it doesn't usually survive long in circumsized men, its can sustain itself on uncircumsized men. Also PID is an STD that you get from youself essentially. (Most people don't know that you can't cross contaminate those things.) There are also consequences to safe sex and I would appreciate it if those of the board would start reffering to it as SAFER sex because you're still not perfectly safe. There is too much user error and lack of information. Like in a threesum situation with two women and a man, STDs can be passed between the women involved if the male doesn't change condoms each time he switches partners, etc. What do you qualify as risky sex? Knowledge is the best safer sex method, someone who hides it is still immoral because they are lying to their partner (non disclosure).

BTW, that depends on the type of spermicide. There are groups that are trying to have nonoxynol-9 banned because it helps spread the aids virus. It eats away at the skin and increases the risks of contraction. Then again, did you also know that things like musle linaments also contain this?


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Baldar
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quote:
You also have to base your verison of immorality on wether or not the infected is virtually guarenteed to die at some point in time due to an affect of the infection.

Are you assuming that the lack of death is equivalent to recovery?


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Locus
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Luny,

The nonoxynol-9 thing caught my attention. The last I had heard it had been demonstrated to de-activate HIV. Has this view changed to the point where it's actually a risk increasing factor?

(Edit: That reminds me ..there are long term risks to using condoms also..particularly to women)

[This message has been edited by Locus (edited October 18, 2002).]


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Tom Grey - Tigger
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I'm sorry my 15 hour work days etc haven't left me more time to contribute/ be attacked here, but Baldar's doing a pretty good job.

The knowing/ semi-knowing spreading of HIV is evil.

My morality is a "guide" to what's right or wrong. If I think something is wrong, it pretty much means I think it is, at least to some degree, immoral.

I think there's an undiscussed issue about "group morality", eg. are the Nazis or Commies immorral? I think yes, even though there may well have been some very kind, wise, generous Nazis.
Wish I discuss it more now, maybe next week...


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Luny
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I knew that it was supposedly a factor in killing the disease but recently new data has come up. The whole reason I heard about it at all is because I was looking for links to post on the homosexuality thread last month or so and found that the mayor I think of San Francisco is trying to have it taken off the market. I'll see if I can't find the link again.


On second though about my previous morality statement, I think that it should extend past lethal to spreading things that are within your control to spread or not spread and to things that will leave the infected with permanent side effects. Sorry I've been down with a migraine for a couple of days now and my head is turning to mush.


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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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Locus, spermicide doesn't kill any STD. The only protection against STDs is using a condom.
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Locus
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Jonathan,

N-9 DOES deactivate the HIV virus...the trouble is this:
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/mmwr/mmwr11aug00.htm


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JonathanTheOmnipotent
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I didn't see anything that said N-9 kills HIV. Could you find a quote if I missed it?
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Locus
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I figured you could take it from the context of the research but here ...

Although laboratory studies show that N-9 kills HIV in test tubes,
available data on the efficacy and safety of N-9 spermicide to prevent
sexual transmission of HIV in real life situations are inconclusive and
inconsistent. For this reason, CDC does not recommend the use of N-9
alone to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. CDC recommends the use
of male latex condoms, with or without spermicide. Nonoxynol-9 has been
shown to provide some protection against two bacterial STDs, gonorrhea
and chlamydia.


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Tom Grey - Tigger
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(almost repeat from other thread)
I don't know what you (all?) mean by the term "morality". Definitions would be helpful.

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Wayward Son
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When I think of morality, I think of a system of defining right and wrong. "Right" behavior is considered moral; "wrong" behavior is immoral.

I also consider it to be about behavior toward others. Smashing your hand with a hammer may be wrong, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "immoral." (Stupid comes to mind, though. ) Cheating on your spouse, however, is more on the order of "immoral."

But the main point is right and wrong. Right behavior should be encouraged, since it benefits society. Wrong behavior should be discouraged, since it hurts society.

Of course, there are different degrees of right and wrong. Speeding is wrong, but hardly on par with murder. Giving to charity is right, but hardly on par with sacrificing your life for another. Circumstances also come into play.

But that's basically it. Right and wrong. Helpful or harmful.


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LetterRip
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The problem with N-9 and other spermicides, is that they don't completely deactivate all the HIV and they irritate the mucous linings and increase the rate of infection for the HIV that survives.

The irritation is noted mostly with frequent usage (such as prostitutes),, so it is probably okay to use N-9 treated condoms for most people, but if you have frequent sex with different partners N-9 actually increases the risk of infection.

(I posted the links to research in one of the other threads relating to HIV...).

LetterRip


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Tom Grey - Tigger
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On morality.

There are at least two slippery issues on morality: one is a “universal code” of morality, that could be proposed and be expected that all reasonable people would agree with. Such a code does not exist, although each religion’s particular moral code seems an effort to provide such a code. Obviously, as long as there are different religions, and the freedom to be non-religious, it is implausible, if not essentially impossible, for there to be any such universal moral code. However, such an “absolute” guideline remains in the background, either consciously or unconsciously.
The other main morality, like Wayward’s (and mine), is a right and wrong for oneself, with some projection of it to be right or wrong for others.

Related but distinctly separate is legal, and the fact that violence is used to enforce all laws – or they’re not enforced and sort of cease to be real laws. It’s separate in that many of the personal moral judgments made, like pre-marital sex is immoral, does not mean advocating creating laws to punish those doing the immoral action.

Those who don’t like my drunk driving analogy might well ask about speeding.
Is speeding immoral? How about doing 50 in a 25 mph zone? How about near a kids’ school? How about doing 100? How about doing 60 with a cell phone? At what speed, or other “wrong but not immoral” circumstance does it become immoral, if ever?

I think my ideas have been adequately expressed elsewhere, given especially the continuing hours I’m working, so I’ll pass on any more now on this, and move on to fresher stuff, maybe. Time permitting.


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