Magazine article Out

Sex, Lies & Spinach

Magazine article Out

Sex, Lies & Spinach

Article excerpt

In northern Namibia, I met a Peace Corps volunteer. Her name was Coppella and she was working with far-flung African tribes on HIV prevention. That day, things weren't going according to plan. Coppella had just returned from a rural village where she'd found all the condoms she had previously distributed burned in a heap. Tribal healers, she said, had told everyone that whites were putting AIDS in condoms to wipe out the black population.

That's not all. These are the same "healers" who perpetuate the terrible myth that AIDS can be cured by having sex with a virgin. "Men are raping babies and young children," Coppella said. "Exposing them to HIV/AIDS, in the hopes of getting rid of it."

So how do you work against such destructive superstition? Coppella believes the only answer is to develop culturally appropriate materials, so we can understand and work together with mystics. Work with them - not against them? "With them," she reiterated. "It's the only way to effect change." If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? That sounds like dangerous collusion. People are dying! Can't people trust empirical evidence? At least in the West we don't have witch doctors. Do we? I know an American who theorizes HIV is an "over-toxification" from too much booze and pills. Allegedly, if you quit cheap vodka and eat organic, you can't get HIV, or (in his case, I suspect) you can cure it. He cooks up a daily diet of steamed kale, collards, and broccoli. Hey, leafy greens worked wonders for Popeye.

Recently, online, in the comment thread of an amateur bareback sex video, one viewer chastened, "Don't you have any ethical qualms about spreading HIV/AIDS?" and was berated by a barrage ofbareback backers. HIV is only a protein, one wrote. Another pitied the "hater" because, sadly, he'd been indoctrinated to believe AIDS kills. Still another vigorously added, "HPV is not an active virus. Get a FUCKING clue, and stop parroting what the gay-hating mainstream medical establishment wants you to think."

AIDS may not be in the condoms, but everyone still hates us! Is that why the liberal media forgot to tell us AIDS was cured? That, in fact, AIDS is only an elaborate lie concocted by the pharmaceutical industry? The human mind has an uncanny ability to circumvent science, logic, and evidence in favor of blind belief. …

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