Saturday, October 14, 2006

anonymous said...

It's a parents right to tell their kids.

Note: My friend the nurse says that her first cases of carnival related STDs in young teeagers are coming into her office, soon, she tells me, to be followed by missed periods. So I’m reposting this. It is an answer to a comment on a post about the 25th anniversary of AIDS being recognized.

First posted on olvlzl June 07, 2006

ou say a parent has a right to tell their kids about condoms. No. That isn't a right, it's a responsibility. Parents who don't tell their children what they need to know to keep themselves from dying of AIDS are negligent. As negligent as parents who refuse to provide them with medical treatment. What they need to know to keep themselves safe goes a lot farther than "just say no,". Children don't just say no. A lot of the time they say yes. Even children who have been told only to say no and kept entirely ignorant of condoms say yes. Parents have no right to pretend that there is no chance that their children will have sex. Refusing to provide them with realistic information about protecting themselves from HIV isn't a right, it's child endangerment.

Even if a parent does provide their own children with complete information not all parents do. You know that most don't. A child brought up in ignorance or with bad information about condom use just might be the one who gets your child to say yes. And you won't be there to stop it. You have a resonsiblity to your own children to make certain that everyone they might have sex with knows the full truth about AIDS prevention. Most of them won't get that information from their parents and with what conservatives and Republicans have done to politics most of them wont' get it at school either. Even if they do get it at school that isn't the best proven way to change behavior. Like it or not TV is the most effective way of spreading effective information. It's where most people get their information. So the information has to be accurate, complete and repeated as many times as is needed to cut the rates of HIV infection in this country.

It is too bad that there was no monitoring of the experiment that has been run in this area. The most rapid and massive campaign of sex education in the history of the country was when Henry Hyde and the Republicans on his committee released the full details of Bill Clinton's affair. Teachers I know said that almost overnight children down to the lowest grades were talking about oral sex in ways they'd never heard before. The cabloids and even the broadcast networks repeatedly gave every detail about oral sex and semen stains in prime time for any child to hear. I don't remember any complaint from the right wing clergy or the Peroxide Aryan Sisterhood then.

Me? I was disappointed to hear about the affair, though it certainly wasn't any of my business. Liberals tend to be a bit sensitive to the airing of other peoples' dirty linen in public, you see. But I have to confess that I was more disappointed to hear that he didn't wear a condom for his wife's, his partner's and his own protection. I'm also disappointed that, having thrown the kitchen sink at Bill Clinton, they didn't throw that at him too.

All might not be lost, however. If David Broder is to be believed, not a mistake I usually make, the experiment is going to be rerun as he has declared Mrs. Clinton's private life to be in season for the Republican bedroom monitors. They should keep better records this time.