The Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a terrible disease. Caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the disease has become an epidemic in parts of the world—particularly in Africa and in certain inner-city communities in places like Washington, DC. While there had been long-term concern about AIDS becoming a worldwide pandemic, perhaps with the potential to decimate the species, the reality has not been nearly so bad (except, again, in certain places). The Independent reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) now admits there will likely be no AIDS pandemic in the heterosexual population outside of Africa.
The AIDS epidemic in the United States kicked-off by primarily affecting homosexual communities, leading to its erroneous categorization as a ‘gay disease’ in the early days. While AIDS is not a ‘gay disease’, the nature of the disease does indeed cause it to spread easier and faster through sexual transmission in homosexual communities than in heterosexual communities. This is not ‘anti-gay’, this is a scientific fact. Sexual preference has no affect on nonsexual transmission through tainted blood, needle sharing, or to a child during pregnancy.
In sexual transmission of AIDS, the ‘receptive’ partner is significantly more likely to become infected than an ‘insertive’ partner. In other words, in heterosexual couples, an infected man is very likely to spread the disease to an uninfected woman during unprotected vaginal intercourse. An infected woman is significantly less likely to spread the disease to an uninfected man, assuming he has no open sores due to other sexually transmitted diseases. The risk is higher when engaging in anal intercourse, but the same receptive vs. insertive differences apply.
Because of the nature of the disease’s spread and the nature of heterosexual sex, people who are exclusively heterosexual—even if engaging in promiscuous, unprotected sex with women—are not especially likely to get AIDS (unless they’re needle-sharing drug users). It can happen, certainly, but men are unlikely to catch AIDS by having sex with women (as the insertive partner), which means relatively few heterosexual men will get the disease, which means relatively few heterosexual women will receive the disease if they sleep with exclusively heterosexual partners.
Homosexual sex behavior, on the other hand, is quite prone to the transmission of AIDS. Often, both partners are receptive, and sexual activities often include anal sex. Both increase the likelihood of the disease spreading, which is a large part of why AIDS spread like wildfire in homosexual communities early on. Again, this does not make AIDS a ‘gay disease’. It simply means that unprotected homosexual sex can be more likely to spread AIDS than unprotected heterosexual sex and, as a result, AIDS remains more common in homosexual or mixed-sexual circles and communities than in exclusively heterosexual ones.
This does not mean that heterosexual people can have promiscuous, unprotected sex without worry. First of all, there are plenty of people out there (whether publicly bisexual or not) who are not exclusively heterosexual. A man can be infected during homosexual sex, then spread the disease through heterosexual vaginal intercourse with women. Furthermore, just because the insertive partner is significantly less likely to be infected, it can still happen.
Ultimately, the best protection against AIDS is abstinence until lifelong, heterosexual marriage, and monogamy during the marriage. That sounds good in theory, but I’m not so naive to believe it’s practical in real life for most people (as much as I might wish it were). Most hormone-raging teenagers will have sex before marriage, and most people will have had multiple partners during their life whether of the same or opposite sex. The second best protection against AIDS is the consistent use of condoms when engaging in pre- or extra-marital sex.
While the morality of contraception is debatable, especially running afoul of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, condom use is preferable to continued spread of AIDS in instances where people commit the sin of pre- or extra-marital sex (which, one would assume, shouldn’t be procreative) or homosexual sex (which can’t be procreative). It is the lesser of two evils, the greater evil being AIDS and its potential spread to future sex partners.