Of Two Minds on Abstinence
An interesting juxtaposition of “role-model” attitude appears in Bob Kerr’s column from yesterday. On one hand:
The kid eagerly raised his hand at the back of the room at the Lincoln Middle School. He had the answer.
“A condom,” he said.
Right he was. A condom is the safe way. Abstinence is probably not going to work for most people, Scott Mitchel told the class.
“You can make a choice,” he said.
On the other:
He started, as he always does, with “HIV101.” He talks of the virus attacking the immune system, of T-cells and how their numbers are a barometer of health or sickness. He points out there are four bodily fluids — blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluid — that can transmit the disease. Tears, saliva and sweat cannot. And taking the risk of injecting drugs with a needle is just too stupid to consider.
There are vast differences, of course, between sex and syringe-based drugs, but the difference in this HIV-positive speaker’s attitude is striking. “Most people” (Kerr’s paraphrase) can’t be abstinent — and monogamy is apparently hardly worth mentioning — but injecting drugs — whether with shared or clean needles — is beyond stupid.
I’d suggest that the first step toward making abstinence a feasible for middle schoolers is for adults to tell them that it’s something that they can conceivably accomplish.