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Obama Gets Polite on AIDS

When First Lady Michelle Obama travels around the country touting her anti-obesity initiative, she carries with her a simple message that gets at the root of all fatness: Eat less and exercise.

Tonight, her husband Barack announced his National HIV/AIDS Strategy, but unlike Michelle he failed to specifically mention the root of the crisis: too much sex outside of monogamous relationships and marriage.

So,

To Stop Obesity: Stop eating, start exercising

To Stop AIDS: Stop having so much sex, and do it with way fewer people.

Instead of a frank message that people need to stop sleeping with anything that moves gracefully, the president spent most of his time in the East Room lamenting discrimination against AIDS sufferers, saying we need to increase treatment, and so forth.

Now, we can give Obama credit for not trying to pretend that AIDS is an equal opportunity disease.

We all know the statistics.  Gay and bisexual men make up a small percentage of the population, but over 50 percent of new infections.  For African Americans, it’s 13 percent of the population — nearly 50 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS.  HIV infection rates among black women are almost 20 times what they are for white women.

Pretending that this illness is a big danger to suburban housewives can only lead to a misallocation of resources.

But on the key question of how to really slow the spread of AIDS and its awful suffering, only these two fragments of sentences were heard – each euphemisms for something that could be anywhere from “Put on a condom” to “Stop Shtumping your neighbor, your friend’s husband, the cleaning lady, the pharmacist, and your waiter.

1. Our strategy promotes . . . education so people can curb risky behaviors.

2. It requires each of us to act responsibly in our own lives.

You mean, it requires each of us to keep our pants on unless the person with us in the room is our spouse or “significant other,” and it requires our supposed leaders to put away their politeness.

But if we’re going to be polite, it might have been a classy gesture for Obama to tip his hat to Bush on the issue. W made fighting AIDS internationally one of his top priorities, devoted heaps of money to it, and is praised grudgingly on both sides of the aisle. A tip of the hat would have been a refreshing break from Obama’s standard Blame Bush routine.

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