Aug 8, 2005There is a lot to be said for taking sensible precautions. There is not much to be said for being paranoid. Let's take a moment to recall that AIDS, despite all the publicity it gets, is statistically a rather insignificant cause of death in Singapore.
Marriage no barrier to Aids
By Candice Zhu
IN HIS article 'No sex, no drugs - no danger of catching virus' (YouthInk, Aug 1), Elgin Toh said he was 'not worried about catching Aids. Not now, not ever'.
While I find his strong determination to stay on the straight and narrow laudable, I suspect he may be speaking prematurely.
It is dangerous and simplistic to see monogamy as the solution to the Aids problem. Though it is sensible to take precautions to prevent yourself from catching Aids, let's not forget that you may still contract the HIV virus from your partner or spouse.
The writer rightly points out that you can reduce the risk of contracting the virus by abstaining from sex and by saving it until you're married. And you can also insist that your spouse go for a blood test to determine if he is Aids-free. But how can you be absolutely certain he isn't having sex outside the relationship or marriage?
The fact is, we can take responsibility only for our own actions, not those of others. Can we trust our partner to be totally faithful in this age of instant gratification? Even the ideal husband has feet made of clay.
Seeing monogamy as the be-all and end-all may have the unfortunate effect of making us let down our guard and put us at risk .......
The writer is a fourth-year sociology student at the National University of Singapore.
In 2004, the top 10 causes of death in Singapore (accounting for almost 90% of all deaths) were:
1. Cancer (27.1%)
2. Ischaemic Heart Disease (18.8%)
3. Pneumonia (14.1%)
4. Cerebrovascular Disease (9.8%)
5. Accidents, Poisoning & Violence (6.5%)
6. Other Heart Diseases (4.2%)
7. Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (3.1%)
8. Diabetes Mellitus (3.0%)
9. Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome & Nephrosis (1.6%)
10. Septicaemia (0.9%)
If you have specific reason to believe that your spouse is unfaithful, that's one thing. For most other married people, Mr Wang suggests that it probably does a lot more harm than good to constantly treat your spouse as you would a high-risk sex partner.
Your time and energy would probably be much better spent on other things. Like doing regular aerobic exercise three times weekly. Or checking your breasts or testicles for unusual lumps.
In life, there are always risks. You could jolly well decide to permanently abstain from sex ... then slip on the bathroom floor, hit your head and die (note the 5th most common cause of death in Singapore). Life is about managing risks sensibly. Not about hiding in a shell.
"Mr Wang is right again. I feel like a fool."