Tuesday, January 14, 2003

K-Lo, Condoms, and Symptom-Solving

Kathryn Jean Lopez -- editor of National Review Online -- has a good piece today on the NYTimes' Nicholas Kristof's column The Secret War on Condoms.

Kristof is stupified by the objections of some to condom use, especially in light of the ability of condom's to prevent the spread of AIDS [sic]. But as Lopez demonstrates, Kristof and other like-minded elites ignore the latest news coming from Africa -- Uganda in particular -- in which HIV is declining in the face of "a nationwide campaign, lead by Uganda's president and supported by the whole of the government and church-based relief agencies, [which] has focused on behavioral change in combating AIDS, rather than the easier, less-effective, more-accepted Western approach: condoms." Lopez links the USAID study, What Happened in Uganda?: Declining HIV Prevalence, Behavior Change, and the National Response which explores this common-sense success story.

This got me thinking on a broader topic... have you ever noticed the tendency of our society and culture to solve the symptoms of their problems rather than the underlying problem, because we don't want to change our behavior? Look at our health: we eat too much of the wrong things and get stuff like high blood pressure. So do we address the real problem and change our lifestyles? All too often, no: we'd rather take a pill for our blood pressure so that we can continue to feed our body Big Macs and Cokes on a regular basis.

There are other examples, but the point is clear: we want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want to do things we shouldn't but avoid the consequences, rather than make more-than-superficial changes to the way we live, think, and believe.

This sort of thing can only go on for so long, before it all catches up to us.

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