Condom use falls and HIV Infections rise in South Africa

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 6th, 2014

Week in Review

The left is intolerant of so many things.  Cigarettes.  Sugary beverages.  Hamburgers.  And our lack of exercising, our insufficient consumption of fresh fruits & vegetables and our unwillingness to buy electric cars.  So they have implemented a lot of taxes, subsidies and regulations to alter our behavior.  To make us behave more ‘correctly’.  And they are always telling us what we should and what we should not do.  Except when it comes to sex and drugs.  No.  Here they pass out free birth control.  And make marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington.  Despite all of that unfiltered first, second and third-hand smoke.  Odd how these things pose no risk to us unlike drinking a large sugary beverage.

And it’s just not in the United States.  All around the world those on the left are telling their people how to live correctly.  Except, of course, when it comes to drugs.  And sex.  Because kids are going to have sex no matter what we say.  And if we tell them they shouldn’t it’s only going to make them want to have sex more.  Although it is funny that argument doesn’t hold up for cigarettes, sugary beverages, hamburgers, etc.  No.  For these they can roll up a newspaper and whack us across the nose all day long.  Figuratively, of course.  But when it comes to sex it’s more of a, “Whoa, now, let’s not say anything hasty here.  For who are we to say what is right or wrong for an individual?”  But with rising HIV infections perhaps we should be telling our sons and daughters that something bad can happen from having sex.  And they would be better off if they didn’t have so much of it before entering into a monogamous, long-term relationship.  For if we did and they did over 10% of our populations would not be infected with HIV (see Condoms rebranded in South Africa as HIV infections rise by AFP) posted 4/3/2014 on Yahoo! News).

South Africa is seeking to rebrand its free condoms to appeal to young people after a new study showed rising HIV infections and flagging contraception use, the health department said on Thursday…

South Africa has the world’s highest number of people living with HIV, a crisis that has seen millions of people placed on a vast state-sponsored treatment programme.

Around 6.4 million people — 12.2 percent of the population — were living with HIV or AIDS in 2012.

During the Eighties we didn’t know any better about HIV.  But we do now.  Even young people.  It’s why we give them free condoms.  Because of the risk of HIV (among other risks).  So it’s frustrating to see risky behavior in young people.  Especially those living in a nation with the highest number of people living with HIV.  When 12.2% of the population lives with HIV or AIDS it can’t be a secret that HIV is a serious risk.  But young people still engage in risky behavior.  Which is useful to those on the left.  For it helps them win elections.  For they are the cool party that doesn’t think drugs are all that bad.  And that a little promiscuity isn’t going to kill you.  “You’ll be fine,” they say on the left.  “As long as you don’t smoke a cigarette, drink a sugary beverage or eat a hamburger you should be able to enjoy all the sex and drugs you want to.  Because sex and drugs can’t hurt you.  Only those other things can.  Well, those things.  And global warming.  Those are the things to worry about.  Not catching HIV or AIDS.”  At least this is the message they’re giving our kids.

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Britain trying to Spread the Risk and Cost of Floods to those who Don’t Live in Floodplains

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 9th, 2012

Week in Review

Insurance manages financial risk.  One of the earliest forms of insurance was marine insurance.  For it was very risky shipping things across the ocean.  Sometimes storms damaged ships.  Requiring the crew to jettison some cargo to make the damaged ship seaworthy.  So all shippers paid a little extra to provide something we called ‘general average’.  So when the ship reached its destination those who still had cargo aboard could sell it.  While those whose cargo went overboard to make the ship safe for everyone else got this insurance money.

Those who were taking a risk bought insurance to manage their risk.  So that in the event of a loss they mitigated their financial losses.  This is a very important fundamental of insurance.  Those who take a risk pay the costs of managing that risk.  A blacksmith working in an inland community didn’t contribute to the general average.  Because he had no risk exposure on that ship.  So to reiterate, risk takers pay the cost of insurance to mitigate their potential financial losses.  Which the free market does brilliantly.  Except when an activity is so risky that everyone exposed to a risk will suffer a loss.  As in flood insurance (see Flood insurance warning by MP Jonathan Evans posted 12/9/2012 on BBC News Wales).

The existing deal, reached in 2008, obliges insurers to provide cover for high-risk properties while the UK government continues to fund improved flood defences…

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is calling on the government to share the financial risk for the areas with the most homes at significant flood risk…

“The reason for that is that people who are at risk of flood, lots of those people being in Wales, a quarter of a million houses across the UK, those people are probably paying about a half of what the real risk of flood is,” he said…

“No country in the world has a free market for flood insurance with high levels of affordable cover without some form of government involvement.”

“We could have a complex system in which we could potentially see a charge of £20 or £30 across the board for everybody – whether affected by flood or not – with everybody doing their bit.

“But that could be viewed as being unfair on the poor.”

The problem with flood insurance is that everyone engaging in risky behavior by living in a floodplain will suffer a loss.  If a flood washes away every home they will have to rebuild every home.  Instead of everyone paying a little bit to pay for one or two lost homes everyone will have to pay a lot.  To cover the replacement value of their own home.  Because there is no way to spread the risk when everyone suffers a loss.

When your insurance premium is the value of the home your insurance is not insurance.  You’re just putting some money aside so you can buy your house again in another 10 years or so.  Or however often a floodplain floods.  Which is the risk people take by living in floodplains.  Or should be.  But governments step in and have the responsible living outside of floodplains subsidize the risky behavior of those living in floodplains.  By subsidizing the cost of their irresponsible behavior with taxpayer money.

Yes, it is heart-wrenching to see the devastation of a massive flood.  Like in New Jersey and New York following Hurricane Sandy.  And seeing those homeowners lose everything.  Especially those who did not renew their federally provided flood insurance (it is a federal requirement to buy flood insurance when buying a house in a floodplain.  But there is no federal requirement to renew that coverage once the initial term of that policy expires).  Because it was too costly.

Coastal areas have beautiful vistas.  Which is why people take risks and move into floodplains.  But if they do they should bear the financial costs.  Not those living responsibly.  With far less beautiful vistas.

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Teenagers Today are Bringing Back Syphilis, an Oldie but Goodie of the Most Nasty of STDs

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 13th, 2011

Week in Review

“Sex is natural.  Sex is fun.  Sex is best when it’s one on one.”  As in monogamy.  Words from George Michael from his 1987 hit I Want Your Sex.  As it turns out it was very sage advice (see Sexual health experts warn of new syphilis threat by Adam Brimelow posted 11/9/2011 on the BBC).

Sexual health experts say they are deeply concerned about several outbreaks of syphilis among heterosexual teenagers…

Since the late 1990s there has been a sharp rise in cases of syphilis. Most of these have been in homosexual men, often in their 20s or 30s.

But recently there have been several small outbreaks across Britain of syphilis in heterosexual teenagers – described in detail in the International Journal of STD and Aids.

Guess they didn’t take George Michael’s advice.

Martin Murchie, president of the Society of Sexual Health Advisers, agrees that the number of cases diagnosed may just be the “tip of the iceberg”.

He says increasing numbers of people, including teenagers, are arranging to have anonymous sex through social networks. He warns that this is making the task of tracing sexual contacts even harder.

“The way that people meet for sex is very different and changing in society. That in itself can be problematic in trying to trace contacts because some people may change their username that they had originally on the social network site, or the health service itself may not be able to access the social networking site.”

In the old days you could trace the source of your syphilis back to the bar where you engaged the services of some prostitute.  Where it took copious amounts of alcohol to engage in such risky behavior.  For everyone knew these prostitutes had some SDT.  But in today’s modern world where we tell women it’s empowering to have sex whenever they want it’s a different story.  The syph is back.  And it’s not confided to seedy bars where drunken men engage the services of prostitutes. It’s in the general population.  Thanks to new sexual attitudes.  And social media.

Dr Patrick French, a consultant in Genito Urinary Medicine in London, says there is no room for any complacency. He says syphilis is a serious disease that can lead to heart disease, stroke and dementia, and raises the risk of acquiring HIV.

“The worry is that if syphilis gets into the wider sexually active population of young people it could then become a common and endemic infection. Before syphilis became unusual in the UK in the 1980s it was a major cause of ill health and that’s no longer the case. So it’s a very important infection to try and prevent.”

So syphilis can be as bad as AIDS.  Fatal.  And it can even make you more at risk of getting AIDS.  As far as diseases go, syphilis is a bad one.  But how do you warn your children?  Without sounding like you’re just trying to stop them from having fun?  So typical of a parent?  That’s more of a rhetorical question.  Because you can’t tell kids anything.  For they know everything.

There’re not going to listen to us.  Just as they didn’t listen to George Michael.  Pity.  Because George was giving good advice in the late Eighties.  Unfortunately, he was just another ‘old guy’ by the late Nineties.  And no longer popular enough for the kids to listen to.

As a side note, these are the people liberal politicians everywhere are relying on to shape policy.  They may not understand economics.  Or fiscal policy.  But we need to listen to them.  While they protest the 1% everywhere.  Because they are so mature.  And smart.  Even though their irresponsible behavior is bringing back a near extinct disease.

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