Friday, March 6, 2009

Possible AIDS Blocker: Immediate Moral Repercussions

Warning: Adult Content.
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Studies done at the University of Minnesota with the chemical Glycerol Monolaurate (monolaurin soap) has appeared effective in blocking the transmission of AIDS in monkeys. Glycerol monolaurate, unlike many previous attempts, has been proven safe for human use and is already used in many cosmetics and foods as a mixing/coagulation aid.

Immediate moral repercussions arise, however. In the Yahoo/Healthday article, doctors and scientists suggested that they would try to find a way to produce sexual lubricants containing the chemical. the idea is to use the lubricant before and during sexual intercourse to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS. The author of the article stated, "Currently, the most practical ways to prevent HIV transmission are abstinence, monogamy with an uninfected partner and protected sex." While this could be taken as just a matter of stating facts, the wording reveals an implication. Once an AIDS blocking gel is on the market, abstinence, monogamy and condoms will no longer be necessary.

Another quick problem with the statement is the promulgation of condom use as a safe deterrent for AIDS. This is not completely true. While condoms are more effective than they once were, male condoms are still only effective 85-90% of the time (barring human error), depending on which study you examine. Female condoms were even less effective because in tests these products only prevented semen exposure in 89-93% of cases. Even if we go with the standard high number, say 90% effectiveness, that leaves a 10% risk of infection. Is any sex worth a 10% risk of a slow, horrible, death?

These numbers are surprisingly hard to find. Many sites claim a "near 100%" effectiveness rate for condoms. I would agree if we are to call 90% nearly 100%. But to claim nearly 100% is not being completely honest. I understand the push for condom use. One site said, "It seems clear that any safe prevention method that increases . . . ability to protect [oneself] against HIV infection is better than none." I agree that even a 79% disease reduction is better than none. Yet this still does not approach realistic numbers. If each time a person has sex, they have a 21% chance of infection, and they have sex many times with AIDS infected partners, the likelihood of contraction goes up. This does not take into account human error. The reality is, condom use is not enough; it is not a panacea. It is just as irresponsible to spread lies about condoms' effectiveness, resulting in condom reliance, as to maintain the old, inaccurate, idea of condom permeability to sperm and STD's, resulting in promiscuous sex without condoms.

The problem is not preventative measures, and the problem is not the disease itself. The problem is moral. The problem is human fallenness. We are creatures who want what we want and don't want any consequences. This is why preaching about hell is so unpopular. Nobody wants to be told "no." Most studies, scientific and health organizations, and even governments are rabidly against a Scriptural understanding of morality. No matter how they spin it, however, the penalties for sin still exist.

Sexuality is not a biological necessity or a "natural urge" to be satisfied in any way one sees fit. Scripture presents sexuality as a God-given mandate (Gen 1:27-28), to be developed within specific bounds. These bounds are set up not only for our safety (Prov 6:23-35; 7:21-27; 1 Cor 7:2-5) but to glorify God (Eph 5:24-33) and protect intimacy in marriage (Prov 5:15-21). We were created in God's image, and though we are fallen we continue to bear a marred image. God has given the gift of sexuality to bond two people (Gen 2:18, 24-25) and to bestow on man the highest gift, co-creation (Gen 1:28). As images of God, we co-create an image of God and, simultaneously, an image of ourselves. When we become involved in sexual immorality (defined as: promiscuity (Deut 22:20-21), fornication, adultery (Deut 22:22), rape (Deut 22:25), incest (Lev 18:6-16; Deut 22:30;), homosexuality (Lev 18:22; Gen 19:1-25; Judg 19:14-30; Rom 1:20-32; 1 Cor 6:9-10), bestiality (Lev 18:23), polyamory, polygamy (1 Tim 3:2,12; Eph 5:22-33), prostitution (1 Cor 6:15-16), masturbation (Matt 5:28), etc.), we defile God's image (1 Cor 6:18-20; Eph 5:3; Jude 1:7).

We humans are not animals and we have been created to be moral. We must keep sexuality for our spouse alone. Outside of that relationship, there is suffering and death.

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