Archive for November, 2009

As simple as A, B, C . . .
November 15, 2009

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — A friend told me a mean joke shortly before I came here that I was reminded of the other night.

The joke goes like this: At a concert for famine relief, Bono claps his hands together, and then does it again, and again — once every second.

Do you realize, he says, every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.

So someone yells out from the audience: Well then stop clapping your hands.

The other night I was at dressed up event promoting a movie to raise awareness about AIDS here.

A woman from an international relief agency stood up to speak. You know, she said, we can win this fight. It’s as simple as A, B, C. But people aren’t doing it . . .

She was talking about the “ABC approach” to educating people how to not catch AIDS: Abstain from sex, if you do have sex Be faithful, and if you can’t do either of those, use a Condom.

Well as it happens most people can’t do either one of the first — for a number of reasons that include that the first runs contrary to certain instincts that have kept the human race going since it got here, that some people don’t get to have a choice of whether they have sex or not, and that some people rely on it for survival  . . . The “Be faithful” part is similarly complicated, including that it doesn’t work if your partner isn’t, and then the only part that Could work, “use Condoms” is last in the message.

For all the reasons above, perhaps, the approach has been well documented to not work. And the woman from the international aid agency admitted so herself.

Then why don’t you quit saying it then? Someone, including me, should have asked her.