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Talk to a Sistah -- about protease inhibitors & Leviticus

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 16, 2005

We are all at risk.

While you slept, your bishops have been at work coming to the rescue of your family. How? By preparing for World AIDS Day and embarking on an Advent-synchronized educational program "to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in your parish." The postcard above -- featuring the cute cross draped with the AIDS Awareness ribbon -- has already reached your pastor's desk. We, of course, are all at risk.

As always with "AIDS awareness" campaigns, we get a morally ambiguous fan dance. The promoters can't be too explicit without provoking moral disgust at the, ahem, occasions of transmission, and the point of the campaign is precisely to anesthetize this disgust by domesticating the disease itself: no need for those hushed tones, grandma, AIDS is as common as dandruff. Hence the "awareness" turns out to be totally contentless. Our bishops' Advent Awareness Action Calendar urges us to "Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk about AIDS at the Laundromat, beauty salon/barbershop and at the Parish social." We are, of course, all at risk.

Some alert policy wonk at the USCCB discovered that the majority of female AIDS patients are black, whence the Secretariat for African American Catholics last year came up with the program theme "WOMEN CAN HELP WOMEN reduce and eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS," and linked it to the following action agenda (we are all, of course, at risk):

  • Time Out/Take Out -- A mentoring program for young ladies offering a good meal and a good conversation about HIV/AIDS (audience: Sunday School, Confirmation Groups, and Youth Groups).

  • Ladies' Night Out -- An AIDS awareness and education program for young ladies and women. Open our parish halls for a day of pampering, nails, line-dancing, and awareness BINGO.

  • Prayer Changes Things -- Start a parish HIV/AIDS support group for those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

  • Incorporate the AIDS prayer into novenas or rosaries at family reunions and other family gatherings.

  • Talk to a sistah -- about HIV/AIDS.

A day of pampering, nails, line-dancing, and Awareness Bingo. I hope our Lords Spiritual will teach by example and devote a morning of their November meeting to showing us how it's done. Already I can feel my HIV/AIDS consciousness rising in anticipation of the event. At any rate, it's good to know those collection plate dollars are not being wasted on hunger relief or catechetics.

(P.S. We are all at risk.)

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