IMAGE:  February 2003 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
 
APRIL 2003
Volume 95, Issue 4
 
 
   
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Letters

…getting pleasure from reading the obituaries…

Marriage, mores, and AIDS
“When Marriage Raises AIDS Rates” (“Investigations,” February/03) implies that the use of the condom is an answer to the AIDS epidemic sweeping sub-Saharan Africa.

In the quality-control manufacture of condoms, voids of five microns in diameter are allowed, small enough to block the passage of human sperm. The AIDS virus is only one-tenth of a micron in diameter, 50 times smaller than the allowable void. Condom users may be lucky enough to have a condom with voids in the wrong places for transmission, but who wants to take that chance with a scourge like AIDS? Will they be that lucky with every condom?

Dependence on the condom may be a principle factor in the spread of AIDS.

Robert H. Doane, AB’39
Wood Dale, Illinois


The Magazine has been especially interesting and insightful the past couple issues, but when I got to “When Marriage Raises AIDS Rates,” I could not help but reflect on a researcher’s comment at a seminar I recently attended on an unrelated subject: “bad science.” His point was this: sometimes a prior agenda gets in the way of discovering the truth and acting accordingly.

Although I myself have not done the science, logic informs us that marriage (or at least Biblical covenant marriage) does not aid and abet the spread of AIDS. To suggest otherwise is bad science. Good science will distinguish between cause and effect versus symptoms.

I would agree that the parents have the right idea for their daughters, but it appears that they do not have the same right idea for the males. The failure of marriage to counter AIDS, as noted in the article, is likely due to people’s behavior outside marriage. The failure is probably rooted in cultural norms and inadequate understanding that allows AIDS to prosper.

Sex is a normal function of the body that can and must be administered by the mind. Society has a big role to play to help ensure that individuals recognize their responsibilities as well as their freedoms. Overemphasis on sex, without the consequences, has its consequences.

Mike Kinkley, MBA’78
Wheaton, Illinois



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