The answer to AIDS

The next time you hear that the Church is archaic or backwards in their promotion of abstinence as an effective method for preventing AIDS, consider this: *** The Answer to AIDS BY THE EDITORS December 2-8, 2007 Issue | Posted 11/27/07 at 3:39 PM Irene Mirembe has found what the whole world is looking for: A nearly 100% effective way of preventing AIDS. She?s a 24-year-old who lives in Kampala, Uganda. She spoke with Sue Ellin Browder in this issue?s excellent front-page story about AIDS. Stories like this one can create a false picture. In order to thoroughly cover the subject matter, we have to look very carefully at exactly how effective condom promotion efforts are at promoting condoms, and how effective condoms are at stopping AIDS. We follow the Register?s journalistic philosophy and try to present the most effective argument against the Church, and then answer it. We do this because we are concerned in providing the tools you need to refute false claims about condoms. But Irene?s life points to the deeper reason Catholics reject condoms, apart from issues of effectiveness. ?All my life I knew my dad would one day die of AIDS,? she told us. ?He wasn?t faithful. I told him to stop going out with other women. He never listened to me. He got the virus in 1995 and died in May, 2003.? Soon, Irene was an AIDS orphan. When we think of the AIDS epidemic, we think of the numbers ? big numbers ? of those affected. Irene thinks of her father?s last days. ?In the end, he could no longer toilet himself,? she said. ?You had to clean him up. You had to feed him. He was the only breadwinner. Every day we became poorer and poorer.? The information Browder provides you about condoms in today?s story is key. But Irene?s lesson is more fundamental. ?If sex is not in a marriage, it has an impact on everyone in the family,? she told Browder. ?Before my father died, we were tired of him. It has taken me a long time to forgive him.? The facts that Browder collected bear out the fact that sex should stay in marriage. She talked to Edward Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She also spoke with Norman Hearst, a family physician and epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco. These secular experts say that in many places condom promotion actually increases AIDS. Green wrote Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries. He reported that, between 1989 and 2001, the average number of condoms per male ages 15 to 49 in African countries skyrocketed. So did the number of those infected with HIV. South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe had the world?s highest levels of condom availability per man. They also had the world?s highest HIV rates. UNAIDS asked Hearst to do a scientific review to see if condom promotions had reversed HIV/AIDS epidemics. His review found the contrary was true. Countries with the most condoms per man tended to have the highest HIV rates. UNAIDS refused to publish Hearst?s findings. ?Condom promotion in Africa has been a disaster,? Hearst said. The only thing that ever worked against Africa?s epidemic was Uganda?s ?ABC? message, which stressed abstinence and fidelity. The message was to abstain and be faithful before resorting to condoms. It was drummed into the population through a number of media. Uganda?s HIV infection rates dropped by more than two-thirds. As HIV dropped in the Karamoja district of Uganda, less than 1% of the population reported using condoms ? the success against the disease came from sexual continence. Again, though, Irene?s personal story points to the deeper issue. After her mother also died of AIDS, Irene had sex with several men ? and that only reinforced what she had learned. ?I used condoms, but condoms didn?t protect my heart. Now I?m keeping myself for marriage. It?s definitely possible to live without sex,? she said, gently smiling. ?Now there?s a freedom in my mind, a freedom in my heart.? The truth is, AIDS is an unnecessary epidemic. Not only is it preventable but the lifestyle it takes to prevent it ? abstinence outside of marriage ? is also the only lifestyle that brings true happiness and real fulfillment. We already know how to prevent AIDS. God provided the answer millennia ago in the Sixth Commandment. Condom promotions have only increased the numbers of dead.

"Witless Rantings"

That’s how my posts were described yesterday on a list that I have participated in for the past few years. Its a running list based out of New Orleans and I made the decision to remove myself from the list this morning. Well, actually, I made the decision last night and slept on it. I will be sending my ‘unsubscribe’ message after I finish this post. I came to this decision after much thought and deliberation – and, yes, there was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back yesterday, but I’ll get to that later. I have been back and forth about whether to do this for some time. For anyone reading this, you might think ‘What’s the big deal?’ and to some degree you would be absolutely right in thinking this. So, here it is, in all its glory. When we moved to New Orleans several years ago, I knew only my husband’s family which included his four younger sisters. As such, I was introduced to many of their friends and got to know a lot of people through his family. I never felt quite ‘right’ in these acquaintances. They were nice enough people, but I really had nothing in common with them and always felt somewhat out of place. Its a hard feeling to describe, but I know I have another dear friend who lives in New Orleans in a similar situation (not from there but her husband was born and raised there and now lives there) and also feels the same way. As such, she and I gravitated to each other over time and we stay in touch. I’m glad for that because I do not want to lose her as a friend. She’s a beautiful and wonderful person with whom I feel I can be completely honest and open and I have absolutely no fear of judgement for anything I think or say. Its a lovely friendship. I started running a few years after moving to NOLA and hooked up with the 5:20 group for long runs on Saturday morning. Not only was it wonderful to be able to ease into my running with a group of people who had decades of experience amongst them, they were ‘real’ people. They came from all walks of life and were far different from those I have met in my little nucleus to which I had been exposed. From there I got introduced to the Catch 22 Track Club and – while I wanted to run with them on Tuesday nights, it just never seemed to happen. I joined the mail list in hopes of learning more about running as well as meeting new people with whom I shared a common interest. I really enjoyed this list tremendously and met some wonderful people through it. The list became a wonderful bond during Hurricane Katrina and, its manager, ATL, was the driving force behind the ING NYC Marathon Trip in 2005 where I met many of these people face to face for the first time and enjoyed their company and getting to know them better. When we returned to NOLA after Katrina, I was training for another marathon and got to know these people well as I ended up running more and more with them and was making Tuesday Track workouts a regular thing. After moving to Austin, I decided to remain on the list to keep in touch with friends and maintain a connection with NOLA. There has always been friendly banter on the list and the occasional jab here and there. This has been manageable, though I’ve found myself irked here and there and gave in to off list emails about something someone said that bothered me. For this I’m not proud, but I felt that the venting was better off list than on. Recently, I’ve found that the list has become more and more mean spirited. To date, there are over 200 members, but the majority of the postings are made by a handful of individuals. The stated goal of the list is to share in a common goal of becoming better runners – in a nutshell. But it seems – to me at least – that the goal of many individuals has become one of launching into ‘playful banter’ of ribs and jabs that is really more harmful and hurtful than necessary. In my years on the list, I’ve tried to be positive, straightforward and honest – but also sensitive to the fact that the words I compose in my emails are read by real live human beings with feelings. I don’t feel that this has been the case by many who participate. Its as though its ‘just an email’ and ‘I’m just having fun’ so I don’t need to worry about how others might perceive what I am saying. Perhaps I’m just too sensitive – that may be the case. I was also born in the Year of the Dog – and while I don’t necessarily believe in these things, I do find that I have many of the traits of the dog. Here is one writeup: “People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people°¶s confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. Dog people make good leaders” I do have a strong sense of loyalty and – while I have relatively few close friends – those I have, I keep with me and am extremely loyal toward. I suppose that my disappointment in the participation in the list recently also has to do with friendships. I have had people who I would like to call my friends pay little attention to what is being said to me or about me and do very little to defend. I’ve also had friends say things to me on this list that I found particularly hurtful. One thing I do know is that I cannot control the actions of others, and while I may feel compelled to jump to the defense of someone being called out unfairly, I cannot expect this of others. It doesn’t lessen the disappointment any. I recently had a very powerful weekend at a women’s retreat put on by our Church. I have been seeking and longing a stronger connection in my spirituality for some time and was excited to be able to participate in this wonderful event. The weekend was put on by approximately 30 women for 30 women. It was an incredible experience on so many levels – on I will truly never forget. There was one particular moment in the weekend that was overwhelming for me. At the end of the day on Saturday, we returned to say a final evening prayer in a small chapel that had been set up in the Parish multi-purpose building. All of the women on the retreat crowded into the small room where a monstrance was present containing the blessed sacrament. As we bowed our heads in prayer and one of the women began to pray out loud, I saw the most beautiful thing I have ever seen – it was Jesus Christ there in front of us. I saw him emanating from the monstrance, slightly transparent – but mostly opaque. He had his arms outstretched and had a bare chest (I only saw him from just below his breastbone up). He had the most loving and peaceful look on his face. There was a bright light around him and a teal blue light surrounding that. It was as clear as day. He never spoke to me, but His message was clear – “I am here with you.”. I have had many beautiful experiences where I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, but none like this where I have actually seen anything. It was spectacular and awe inspiring. What does any of this have to do with my participation on a running list? I’m getting to that point. Our Women’s Group meets on Monday nights. I went last night after reading the mail suggesting that my ‘witless rantings’ had become tiresome. This had been posted by an anonymous member of the group who I recently stood up and suggested was a chicken shit for posting anonymously. I suppose I’ve grown tired of the hurtful posts of those who post under their real names, and was just not ready for someone to join and feel free to lob mean spirited comments to those who had no idea who this person was. This anonymous poster suggested that I join a local Austin group. I felt hurt and abandoned by my friends on this list because no one (not true – on chivalrous fellow agreed with me) stood up and said ‘You know what – you are right.’. Its not about being right or wrong per se, but its the principal of the thing and I have a habit of getting stuck on
principal which can be a blessing as well as a curse. I left for my meeting and was almost in tears the entire way. I didn’t want to show up with a runny nose and bleary read eyes, so I refrained. As I sat at my meeting, I heard a voice say in my head ‘This is what is important’. I arrived home late at night and couldn’t get to sleep. I was so bothered by what had happened – and then doubly bothered by the fact that it was bothering me since it was such a waste of time. I lay in bed and tried to sleep but my mind just kept turning over and over and over. And then it came to me. Our daughter, I, has had some issues here and there with kids on the playground who aren’t very nice to her. We have tried to instill in her the idea that she need not be a victim nor a tattle tale and that if she doesn’t like the behaviour, to just tell the person she’s sorry they feel this way and go and play somewhere else. Given that I hate hypocrisy, it struck me that it would be stupid for me to continue to participate in an environment where I was experiencing much of what she has experienced on the playground (and, sadly, at much of the same level too!) and not take my own advice. But I feel sad. I feel sad because part of this is a grieving. Its a grieving for people who I believed were my friends and have really proven that they aren’t. Whether I participate or not makes no difference to them and that makes me feel sad. As I drove home from dropping the kids at school this morning, I was reminded of that beautiful experience in the chapel and thought to myself – ‘Wow, what an incredible thing to see, and you are actually bothered by all of THIS?’. What is THIS really in the grand scheme of things. Its so pointless, useless and insignificant and you have spent SO much time and energy on it. Why? I just kept asking myself why. I’m pretty sure that Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us so I could worry about stupidity like this. Before I am written off as some over-sensitive Bible thumping ninny who can’t take a joke now and then, I’d like to just say that all of what I said above may make no sense to those reading this post and seem pointless and futile. Maybe its more of a ‘witless rant’ and perhaps the chicken shit poster is correct. So, for now, I will reserve my time and my ‘witless rants’ for this blog where those who wish to read them can choose to do so and I won’t subject anyone to them who is not interested in what I think or have to say. I’m even going to add a ‘comments’ section soon and will welcome comments from those who have enough cohones to provide their name.

Sterilization to save the planet?

Meet the women who won’t have babies – because they’re not eco friendly I suppose then, that we should ALL stop having babies and just let the human race die out. Its not so much that having babies isn’t eco-friendly, its that we aren’t treating the planet with the respect it deserves with our growing population. We can continue to grow our species, but we can’t continue to grow it in such a selfish way. Deciding to not have anymore children isn’t going to stop those that exist from treating the earth like poop. And, as a Christian, I’m not even going to get into the litany of reasons that this goes against biblical teachings to ‘go forth and multiply’. One of the women even went so far as to have an abortion in order to ‘reduce her carbon footprint’. Wow, that’s pretty darn narcissistic. Kill a human life to reduce her carbon footprint. How much more selfish and ridiculous in our self-justification can humanity get? “I didn’t like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.” What if that child had been the one who had the mind that held the secret to alternative fuels? Wouldn’t that have been wonderful if that child had a chance to live. He/she might have saved millions of lives.

Feeling badly.

Is it ‘feeling bad’ or ‘feeling badly’? I don’ t know. Anyway, I am feeling badly this morning. I woke up at 4:46 on my own in spite of going to bed past 11 last night and having a long day/night beforehand. I had a lot of work to do yesterday, two calls to be on, a few errands to run and then ‘I’ had a friend over after school – during which time I cooked a meal for 30 people for my women’s group last night. I didn’t mind doing that – I enjoy my group and enjoy cooking, so it was really enjoyable to be providing a meal last night. I also got dinner ready for my 3 and then ‘I”s friend so I could get out the door and to my meeting by 6:30. The meeting was good – as it always is. Its hard to imagine NOT having a good meeting with this group. I really love the women in our group. Its a really lovely mix of ages and backgrounds. We finished up last night about 10:45 or so, but I still had to do some cleaning up when I got home so that got me into bed around 11 and then G was watching Letterman so I had trouble falling asleep. I ended up going to sleep in ‘I’s room in her double bed. After waking up this morning around 4:46, I decided to roll over and go back to sleep until my alarm on my watch went off at 5:00. I woke up and looked at my watch to find that it was 5:31. In spite of my checking my alarm last night, I only checked the time and didn’t notice that the alarm wasn’t actually on. I got out of bed and got into my running clothes quite quickly so I could head to AHS for my workout. I knew it was a short one and that I’d have time in spite of getting up late. On the way there was an accident on a very narrow and curvy downhill on Red Bud Trail. They grated the road last year so that it wouldn’t be as slippery a curve on rainy days (and I’m sure on dry days too!). This morning there was a light mist coming down which made the road extra slippery. It looked like the car going downhill had hit a truck coming uphill. The left hand side of the car going downhill was completely totaled. Fortunately, the glass was not broken in the windshield and everyone was out of their cars/trucks. The police had not yet arrived, but there was another pick-up truck present and everyone seemed okay and like they were just waiting for police and tow trucks to arrive. I didn’t stop and very slowly proceeded around the accident scene. This is why I feel badly. I feel like I should have stopped and at least asked if everyone was alright. I feel terribly for not doing so. I just kept going because I thought everyone was alright. That just wasn’t right. I passed by on my way back home and the police had arrived and were directing traffic around the accident. Clearly everyone was okay. But I will definitely stop next time. Its just been a crazy morning and crazy day yesterday so I’m feeling a little flustered. Today I have lots of work to do, but I can stop and breathe a little and just relax and work.

I was a winner on a Saturday.

Lucky for me, Katie McGregor and the fast girls didn’t show up for this year’s Senior Bowl 10k race which my 40:25 was good enough for me to win. I had absolutely NO expectations of winning. This is one of those races that draws very talented runners – and then adult PE runners like me. My goal was to go out and PR – and hopefully break 40 minutes. The 40 minutes didn’t happen, but I was fortunate enough to be the fastest woman there today. It was a lot of fun and felt really good. I’ve never won a race like this before and it was a bit of a trip. Winning felt good, but the news coverage was what put it over the top. This was local news coverage – the piece on Senior Bowl is at the end so skip past the football. This was the local newspaper coverage