Saturday, May 12, 2007

Condoms Are Good For You

Like I wuz sayin . . . it could happen to anyone at any time. It's not a matter of fault but of responsibility. You are responsible for yourself, for protecting yourself, not against your significant other or random encounter, but against risk.

I heard a sad story this week about a friend of a friend who discovered, quite by chance, that they've been infected with a disease that will likely kill. It was probably preventable, though nothing is certain when it comes to disease transmission. It could happen to you, or it may already have. It may be your mum, your sis, your boss or your doctor. There is NO WAY TO KNOW just by looking, so, you have to use what resources there are to reduce your risk.

Now, I say reduce rather than eliminate risk because, as any actuarial will tell you, there isn't a way to completely eliminate risk of death or injury as an organism, which is what you are, unless you are actually dead or injured. Then, all bets are off - cash in your chips and you're out of the game, statistically speaking.

So, why does this keep happening to people? Why does the safe fall onto the hapless cartoon character? He (or it) was in the wrong place at the wrong time and just didn't look up - didn't occur to him.

The same thing seems to be true of the whole gamut of people encountering HIV infection first-hand. Gee, she didn't look sick. He works out five times a week! We're not even sixteen. I'm getting ready to retire, how could this happen to me? HIV and any infectious disease could care less what your age, race, orientation, religion, income status or salad dressing preference is. All infectious diseases are opportunistic - they are built to propagate, just like you and me. And they're gonna do whatever they have to to get the job done, even if, ironically, it means killing the host, that is, you or me.

Well, they have drugs don't they? Yeah, well, you can either floss and not get a cavity resulting in a nasty and painful root canal, that is, you can take a simple precaution, or not. The myth of medicine is that if you get sick, the doctor can help. Well, not all the time and only in a very narrow range of circumstances. That's actually a topic for another day, but suffice it to say that prevention IS the cure, nine times out of ten.

For (insert Entity name choice here) sake, please dress appropriately for the weather. Your mother told me to tell you to bring a raincoat - you never now when it's going to pour out of a clear blue sky.