[EDITORIALS]Safe sex to fight AIDSPublic interest advertisements encouraging the use of condoms to prevent AIDS will be televised by major television networks for a month beginning today. The health authorities are determined to promote the use of condoms among people in a big way. Now, a turning point has been provided to bring up the issue of AIDS, that was previously difficult issue to discuss openly because it symbolized moral corruption.
The rate of increase in the number of AIDS patients at home has passed the danger level and the trend is confirmed through various statistical data. The number of AIDS patients confirmed by June this year was 2,842, but the actual number is estimated to be 10 times more than that. Especially, during the first half of this year, 302 Koreans and 82 expatriates in Korea were found to be newly infected with the disease. While the situation has gotten rapidly worse, prevention efforts have been too lax.
The reality that AIDS patients face now is miserable. Once someone is found to have been affected by the virus, he loses his job, his family and is alienated from society. It is a misconception to view AIDS as a fatal disease or a divine punishment. Therefore, those infected with the disease try hard to conceal the fact and that results in an expansion of infection. It was a tragedy resulting from ignorance and prejudice in our society that 36 AIDS patients ended their lives by committing suicide.
Like other chronic diseases, AIDS can be controlled with proper medical care. Government authorities shouldn’t use television advertisements only as a temporary stopgap. By providing preventive education in collaboration with civic groups, infection routes must be blocked. To prevent infection through blood transfusion, the management of blood banks must be checked thoroughly.
Finding out AIDS virus carriers, by examining blood samples of those vulnerable to the disease and providing them with proper medicare, is important. They must be assured that it is beneficial to report in to the authorities and be taken under their care. Also, a social atmosphere in which peole free from infection respect the human rights of infected people and sympathize with their situation should be created.
Instead of letting the disease spead wildly by pushing it into the shadows, it is better to cope with it by exposing it and bringing it under control.