Sunday, 21 September 2014

DON'T BE IGNORANT ABOUT HIV

DON’T BE IGNORANT ABOUT HIV


I am always amazed at how many modern people – even doctors and other well educated people – are about HIV.

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus – is no longer a killer and with the modern HIV drugs people do not get ill and do not die of HIV or progress to AIDS.

HIV and AIDS are NOT the same thing – HIV is a virus that you can come into contact with – and AIDS – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome - is an illness that UNTREATED HIV can turn into.

Anyone who thinks that HIV and AIDS are the same thing is, quite simply, ignorant.

The new wonder working drugs used by medicine to treat people who have come into contact the HIV virus are called – Antiretrovirals.

These drugs stop HIV affecting the body’s cells and they prevent people getting ill.

There are people alive today who have been HIV+ for over 30 years and they are as well as anybody else is. They will not develop AIDS and they will not die of AIDS. Like all other people they will die of cancer, heart conditions, strokes, motor accidents, etc.

When doctors test people to see if they are HIV+ they test two things.

First of all they test the blood cells CD4 count. A person without HIV will score between 500 and 1200 on their CD4 count. There are people who are living with HIV whose CD4 count is quite normal and well above the 500 bottom line – even up quite near 1000.

The other thing the doctors check is what is called the Viral Load – in other words how much of the HIV virus is in your body. The doctor’s machine can only test from the figure 50 up. A Viral Load below 50 cannot be detected.  

Many people living with HIV have a Viral Load of -50 – in other words the HIV is not at all detectable in their bodies. In non HIV people took a HIV test all their test would show would be the same -50 – non detectable.

You cannot get HIV from someone by touching them, kissing them, using their cutlery or dishes, using the toilet after them etc.

HIV in only transmitted through BODILY FLUIDS – blood, semen etc. That is why so many drug users get HIV / AIDS - they share needles!

A HIV+ person with a CD4 count of over 500 / 600 and a Viral Load of -50 is very unlikely to pass the virus on to another person with whom they have intimacy.

Of course ALL HIV+ people should tell any and every prospective partner that they are HIV+ and everybody should ALWAYS be using protection if they are having sex with an unknown partner.

Partnerships in which one partner is HIV+ and the other is HIV- have existed for decades without the infected partner ever infecting the un-infected partner.

The real problem in Northern Ireland and elsewhere is that only a MINORITY of those who are HIV+ know they are!!!  That is truly alarming. They are putting their own health and lives at risk and the health and lives of partners.

Anyone who is sexually active – especially outside the context of a committed, faithful partnership – should have their sexual health checked every 6 months.

Of course our poor brothers and sisters in Africa – who do not have access to antiretroviral drugs – often because of greedy drug companies and highly irresponsible governments – are still dying of HIV / AIDS. These deaths are ABSOLUTELY unnecessary and avoidable.

However people here at home with HIV are suffering because of people’s ignorance, prejudice and unkindness.

And don't forget - HIV is not a "gay disease". There are millions of so called "straights" with it.

There are innocent children with HIV.

Furthermore, anything that affects even one human being affects God and Jesus.

We can therefore truly and accurately say: "Jesus has  HIV".


We can also say that the church - the Body of Christ - has HIV.

Don’t allow yourself to be ignorant about this topic. 

Don't be lacking in compassion.

But for the grace of God - you could have HIV or AIDS!

+Pat Buckley
22.9.2014.

11 comments:

  1. Thank you Pat for raising and highlighting this issue.

    I don't know if you remember ?

    But some years ago a Kiltegan priest from Larne - Jackie White - held a banner at a Vatican conference which made world wide news and which said: "THE CHURCH HAS AIDS"

    I think Fr Jackie is still doing well, thank God.

    Religious Order Priest - HIV+

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  2. Dear Brother,

    I do remember this well.

    I think Fr Jackie is doing fine.

    Warm wishes to you.

    Pat

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  3. His parishioners trust Roger, who has known since grade school that he wanted to devote his life to the church.
    But he’s afraid if they knew the truth about him he would lose that sacred trust.
    “My ministry will not be able to continue if people knew that I was HIV-positive,” says Roger, who is gay and has broken his vows of celibacy.
    Father Roger is not the only HIV-positive priest. He estimates that over the course of his ministry, he has known 15 to 20 priests who have contracted HIV through homosexual relations. Many have died.
    “I’ve worked with priests who have died with AIDS,” says Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and former priest, who has spent the last 40 years researching and writing about the sexual habits of Catholic clergy. “I estimated that 750 priests had already died of AIDS,” says Sipe, who has analyzed hundreds of cases of AIDS in the priesthood, and believes that “another 750 priests carry the HIV virus.”
    The Church’s Response
    No one knows precisely how many priests have the AIDS virus or have died from the disease. But a recent effort to find out was conducted by the Kansas City Star.
    Reporter Judy Thomas, who has collected priests’ death certificates over the past few years, says, “We will be able to document that at least 300 priests have died of AIDS — and that is likely to be conservative.”
    But Sister Maryanne Walsh, the spokeswoman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the official voice of the church in the United States, says this represents only a small percentage of priests.
    “It concerns me terribly that anybody has AIDS,” says Walsh. “And even more so it concerns me that 300 of our church leaders, of our priests, would have AIDS.” But, she adds, “even if you doubled that number, you’d have less than 1 percent. So while you have 300 tragic stories there, you don’t have a trend in the priesthood.”
    Even though AIDS can be contracted in a number of ways, experts including Sipes believe many priests contracted the disease through homosexual relations.
    In his new best-selling book, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, Father Donald Cozzens, a respected Catholic seminary president, says there is such a high percentage of gay priests in the church that he is concerned “the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession.”
    Sipe, too, estimates that between 25 percent and 45 percent of American priests are homosexual in orientation.

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  4. A few extra bits of info, all from wiki, NHS website:
    HIV is a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. (Wiki)
    CD4 can be described as the generals of the human immune system which activate the immune response when viral or bacterial intruders are detected. In relation to HIV, they may sometimes be referred to also as T cells.
    In relation to kissing: infectious HIV particles are UNABLE to survive in saliva. (NHS Choices
    Just looked these up as didn't know about CD4, or if saliva from kissing could infect.
    MournemanMichael

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  5. Continued:

    Sister Walsh says not only would it be difficult to find evidence to support these estimates of gay men in the priesthood, but it is also irrelevant. “There’s no real purpose in saying whether someone is homosexual or heterosexual,” she says. “The issue is whether they can make a commitment.”
    Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that there is nothing sinful about having a gay orientation or homosexual desires — whether you’re a priest or not. It’s acting on those desires that the church considers unnatural and wrong. So when a gay priest has sex, he is not only violating his vows of celibacy, but the church’s very strong moral teachings on homosexuality as well.

    Preparing for Celibacy
    Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, an outspoken liberal Catholic leader in Detroit, believes most priests are maintaining their vows of celibacy. But he says many of those men are gay. Gumbleton also believes that until recently, Catholic Seminarians failed to teach priests how to integrate their sexuality and didn’t adequately prepare them for a lifetime of celibacy.
    But the church has made dramatic changes in the last decade in the way it addresses sexual issues in seminary. Instead of denying or repressing sexual desire, seminaries now use progressive psychology to help men deal openly with the once taboo topics of sexual attraction as well as homosexuality.
    Seminarians, for example, learn how to channel their sexual energy, and that it is alright to embrace their homosexual orientation. They are taught that intimate, nonsexual friendships may help keep them from breaking their vow of celibacy.
    And even AIDS is now being seriously addressed by the church.
    “Jesus didn’t ask how people got leprosy,” says Father Dennis Rausch, a Miami priest who ministers to AIDS victims and also has full-blown AIDS himself. “We don’t ask how they became infected. We are here to walk with them — not to judge them in their journey.”
    Rausch still has his job and can talk openly about his disease in his diocese because he refuses to discuss how he contracted HIV. By his silence, he hopes to sever the connection between homosexuality and AIDS.
    “The Church has worked so hard to take away blame and guilt and shame and victimizing of anybody with this disease,” he says.
    But not all priests with AIDS feel as comfortable speaking so openly. Often, their homosexuality and the violation of their vows of celibacy condemn them, keep them from telling the truth about their disease, and prevent them from finding the support they need.
    “I’m comfortable with what I’m doing,” says Roger, though he also says the double life he lives sometimes troubles him. “If people wanted perfect priests and ministers and rabbis, perfect clergy, we’d all have to take off our collars and leave the sanctuary.” Roger adds, “I’m a good priest. My HIV is a result of a poor choice I made in my life … And that doesn’t mean that I have nothing left to give to the Church … God will judge me — with all the strengths and the weaknesses that He has given me.”

    FROM abcnews.com

    TM - Newry

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  6. SADLY, BUT NOT SURPRISINGLY, I MUST REPORT TO BLOG READERS, THAT ONCE AGAIN TODAY I HAVE RECEIVED MORE VERY PERSONALISED AND ABUSIVE COMMENTS FROM PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BECATHOLIC PRIESTS AND CATHOLICS.

    NOT ONLY CAN I FIND NO TRACE OF CHRISTIANITY IN THOSE COMMENTS - I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO FIND HUMANE THOUGHTS.

    IT IS A FURTHER REMINDER TO ME THAT THERE IS A VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE CHRISTIANITY AND ORGANISED RELIGION.

    I AM UNABLE TO EXPLAIN HOW SERIOUS AND SAD IT IS WHEN CHRISTIANITY DETERIORATES INTO TRIBAL ROMAN CATHOLICISM OR PROTESTANTISM.

    WAS IT ANY WONDER THAT THE GREAT GANDHI SAID HE ADMIRED CHRIST - BUT NOT "CHRISTIANS".

    Pat

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  7. Open Minded Parishioner22 September 2014 at 20:48

    Pat, most of the people I know that go to church have little to do with Christianity. It astonishes me. A man I worked with, who went to church every Sunday, once told me that his Anorexic sister was just attention-seeking and was very scathing. A woman in my own congregation came out of Church one Sunday, crossed the car park to where we have a coffee/tea after Mass and was so unnecessarily rude to one the volunteers serving coffee that my jaw just about hit the floor. I couldn't stop the words "haven't we just come out of Church??" escaping from my mouth. Another lady, who was a mother of a little girl in my daughter's class at school in my last parish would turn to me every Sunday and shake my hand and smile and say "Peace be with You" but would not acknowledge me anywhere else. I once held open a door for her and she sailed through without saying a word to me. The world is full of ignorant, rude people who think that because they show up at Church on Sunday and shake the Priest's hand, they are good Christians. Sadly for them it is what happens outside of Church on Sunday that really counts.

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  8. I still think that you should publish these remarks Pat so that you don't have to face them alone. These men do not like the light and the light needs to be shone on what they are saying. Painful though it may be to you to publish these comments, I think it better that you do. A friend.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to disagree - but I think that publishing everything that people post isn't in the best interest of debate, especially if it is insult and derogatory. Ephesians "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." This blog has a lot to offer those on the fringes. In recent weeks by tackling issues at local diocese level the hornets, realising that their nest has been too closely examined are out for the sting. I wouldn't given them the time of the day. Already the topic on the blog, in this case the debate of aids/HIV is sidelined and personally I think that there is so much more than parochial politicking to be had because there are bigger issues to be thought about and discussed. Just my thought - Gerry

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  9. I would go along with your thinking Gerry. I've said earlier that I was finding abusive hostile comments devoid of contributory content or merit, and hold to that. I don't think such bigots should be given the oxygen of publicity.
    But I do note the value of the comment that Pat should not have to face the brunt of their vicious negativity alone. So Pat, might it be worth considering posting small selection of their comments as a separate post, while inviting us to offer our views on them in a very brief response, say, no more than 20 words. Some of us have already expressed our disdain. Perhaps a straw poll might indicate more clearly the weight of opinion and offer you some support.
    MMMichael

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