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Give Out Needles

Of course Tara Servatius is right in her comment that certain behaviors are risk factors for HIV/AIDS ("Yes, Sex Causes AIDS," August 27). However, people have been engaging in risky sexual behaviors since the beginning of recorded history. One program which would at least help to reduce the spread of HIV would be a clean-needle program -- the distribution of unused, sterile syringes to anyone, no questions asked. As a former public health nurse, I know that these supplies are cheap and easy to obtain. Also good would be to re-institute a program that would make condoms available to anyone at any Health Department clinic. No amount of proselytizing by the religious right is going to change the fact that HIV is a public health problem, not a moral pronouncement from God on certain behaviors. I have had the onerous task of informing a 19-year-old girl that she was HIV positive, and I'm betting she was already well aware of its causes. For her it was (she said) a contaminated needle. Twenty-five cents or so from a local health department for a clean syringe could have spared her this devastating news. -- Amy Keith, RN, Charlotte

Servatius Totes A Tired Line

I didn't realize until today that Servatius is apparently of the school of thought that we all seemingly wake up one day and "choose" our sexual orientation.

In "Yes, Sex Causes AIDS" Servatius rambles on and on about her ill-informed support of Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James' notions about an abstinence-focused AIDS policy. Predictably she totes out the tired old "blame the Democrats" line for their failure to support James' ludicrous ideas, which include the suggestion that anyone HIV-positive receiving services from Mecklenburg County should only be involved in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship -- one of James' addenda she fails to mention.

Since Servatius herself apparently made a "lifestyle choice" somewhere along the way (as she infers we all do in her story) then it would be appropriate to assume that at one point she considered something other than a heterosexual, monogamous relationship.

Word of advice for Citizen Servatius: if Commissioner James gets his way, stick with your "choice" -- lest you ever find the need for HIV services in Mecklenburg County.

-- David Moore, editor of Q-Notes,

Tara Servatius Replies: I wonder if David Moore actually read my column he's referring to. He implies that because I support one, and only one, part of Bill James' position on how HIV is spread (which is a scientific fact, not a "ludicrous idea"), then I am also in favor of the entire James agenda, although I never mentioned it in the column. The column was about sex, not gays. It didn't even remotely deal with denying people county services if they're not heterosexual (in fact, the word "heterosexual" was never even mentioned in the column), nor was it about whether you can choose your sexual orientation. My use of the word "lifestyle choice" was not a reference to gay people in any way, but to whether people choose to have sex with one or multiple partners. Whether you can choose your sexual orientation -- which I don't believe you can -- has approximately nothing to do with the fact that having sex remains one of the two main ways to contract AIDS. I fail to see how sexual orientation even relates to the point of the column, which was that SEX SPREADS HIV (It's true, it really is). I've gone to the mat for the gay community in print on multiple occasions, which I assume Mr. Moore is aware of. My column had a simple premise: sex really can cause AIDS and whatever policy is decided on by the county, that fact needs to be dealt with honestly. Whatever else Mr. Moore imagines that I think or don't think is a product of his imagination.

Remiss Reading and Writing

To the student who wrote "Nuff Sed" (Letter to the Editor, August 27): Maybe you should have asked a teacher to proof your letter before submitting it. Let me point out several reasons why our educational system is obviously failing.

1. Many of the sentences are beyond run-ons. They're more like run-on out the door, never come back sentences.

2. You obviously were never taught how to punctuate.

3. You don't have basic understanding of when to show possession.

4. Tenses are interchanged and used improperly.

5. Hmmm. "More Nicer"?

To this country: Wake up! Our kids can't read and write.

-- Jenivieve Lubet, Charlotte

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