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Nitpicking is not a substitute for sound argumentation

By Scott Tibbs, March 3, 2008

Matt Gentry responds to my letter to the editor that was published in last Thursday's IDS. Gentry seems to think that Nitpicking is a substitute for sound argumentation, but it isn't.

I did not say that "opposite-sex sexual activity does not increase the risk one has of contracting STDs such as AIDS." such a statement would run counter to the facts, because it is well documented that AIDS can be (and is) spread by heterosexual sexual intimacy. In fact, this is a huge problem in many African countries, where unfaithful men bring the deadly virus home to their wives. But the fact of the matter is that men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a much higher risk of having AIDS than anyone else in the general population.

See the following table from the CDC Web site:

Transmission Category Estimated # of AIDS Cases, in 2005
Adult and Adolescent Male Adult and Adolescent Female Total
Male-to-male sexual contact 17,230 - 17,230
Injection Drug Use 5,441 2,940 8,381
Male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use 2,018 - 2,018
High-risk heterosexual contact* 4,797 7,591 12,388
Other** 280 243 523

Transmission Category Estimated # of AIDS Cases, Through 2005*
Adult and Adolescent Male Adult and Adolescent Female Total
Male-to-male sexual contact 452,111 - 452,111
Injection Drug Use 168,314 73,050 241,364
Male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use 65,881 - 65,881
High-risk heterosexual contact** 61,438 102,171 163,609
Other*** 13,978 6,582 20,560

The fact that lesbians are at an extremely low risk of contracting AIDS is a red herring. That people can be intimate in a non-sexual way is also a red herring. My use of the term same sex intimacy, in the context of the federal government's policy prohibiting men who have sex with men from donating blood, is meant to refer to MSM, not women who have sex with women. It is very important to consider the context of an argument. It is unfortunate that unless someone includes every caveat and disclaimer when making an argument about a general principle, those who disagree with an overall point will nitpick small things in order to attack the overall argument. This is what we call a "straw man" logical fallacy.

And yes, it is true not all MSM are promiscuous, which greatly increases one's risk of coming into contact with disease. But would rewriting the guidelines "to weed out individuals with risky and irresponsible sexual behavior regardless of the sex of their partners" be worth the effort? MSM are a very small part of the population yet account for a huge percentage of HIV infections. Given the fact that MSM are such a small percentage of the population, does it make sense to spend time and money weeding out only some MSM, or does it make more sense to have a general policy that ensures the safest blood supply possible?

Some have argued that testing for HIV makes the issue a moot point. But is this really the case?

However, a negative antibody test result does not guarantee that a person is free from the virus, especially if the person is a member of a group at increased risk of AIDS. This is because antibodies may not have developed yet if exposure to the virus was recent. For this reason, it is very important for members of groups at increased risk of AIDS to continue to refrain from donating blood or plasma. It is also possible that other factors, including exposure to other viruses, could cause the test to be positive even though the person was never infected with HTLV-III.

Source: www.encyclopedia.com

The basic issue here is not one of nondiscrimination or morality. The basic issue here is safety, and ensuring that those in need of blood get the safest blood possible. It is sickening that homosexual activists, with the backing of some "universities", are playing politics with an issue of public health and placing Political Correctness above public health. As I have said before, the people we should be most concerned about are those in need of blood. To those whining about "discrimination", I have one very simple statement: It is not about you!