During a teleconference on MTV Thursday, Secretary of State Colin Powell encouraged the use of condoms to fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. He has since drawn unfair criticism from conservatives and religious groups that say not only did he contradict his boss, President George W. Bush, but that he is undermining the message of abstinence.
Powell may have contradicted the Bush administration’s stance on condoms, but it is about time government leaders acknowledged that abstinence, while a good policy, is perhaps not the most effective nor the most feasible tool in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
While abstinence certainly is advocated by most religious organizations as the best way to avoid contracting HIV and AIDS, as well as preventing unwanted pregnancies, it is becoming more difficult to convince young people to wait to have sex.
Powell simply acknowledged that difficulty. He is not telling young people to have sex, nor is he condoning pre-marital relations. Instead, he is saying that it is time people came to terms with the fact that young people are having sex, and those who are should be doing so safely by using condoms.
Powell came under fire for possibly contradicting the Bush administration’s stance, which considers abstinence to be the most effective tool against AIDS.
However, it is absurd to think that everyone in one administration or party will agree on everything that is said. Powell has contradicted the administration on other issues, the most recent being the classification of the detainees at Camp X-ray.
Now, on MTV, he gave good advice to young adults but did not advocate premarital sex by saying we need to “forget about taboos, forget about conservative ideas … it’s the lives of young people that are put at risk by unsafe sex, and therefore, protect yourself.”