It’s all about pills

Apple is selling a red iPod nano as part of a campaign to fight AIDS in Africa. Apparently, the whole epidemic hinges on the availability of “pills.” It sounds rather Communist, if you ask me, but the founding document behind this campaign is called the “(Red) Manifesto” and contains this statement:

YOU BUY (RED) STUFF. WE GET THE MONEY, BUY THE PILLS AND DISTRIBUTE THEM. THEY TAKE THE PILLS, STAY ALIVE, AND CONTINUE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILIES AND CONTRIBUTE SOCIALLY AND ECONOMICALLY IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

IF THEY DON’T GET THE PILLS, THEY DIE. WE DON’T WANT THEM TO DIE. WE WANT TO GIVE THEM THE PILLS. AND WE CAN. AND YOU CAN. AND IT’S EASY.

Far be it from me to condemn them as reductionist. They are trying to do good in the world, and there is evidence that these antiretroviral pills are effective in preventing the transmission of the disease to one’s children. But according to (red), it’s all about the pills. Horrible living conditions, corrupt leaders, and endless war are negligible factors. And I wonder if the sexual habits of Africans have anything to do with the spread of AIDS, or if they would be better off if we offered help without also pushing them to adopt Western-style sexual mores. I mean, let’s help them out with “the pills” and all, but without also burying them in condoms. Condoms just encourage promiscuity, and promiscuity spreads AIDS. (Here it’s my turn to be reductionist.) Okay . . . condoms may help somewhat, but a “condom culture” is the wrong road to take if you really want to eradicate the disease.

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2 Responses to “It’s all about pills”

  1. Joe Says:

    The Red iPod looks sweet. That was my first impression. Then I thought that the $10 going to a foundation that’s trying to stop the spread of AIDS was a good thing. Thanks for helping me see the evil in all of this!

  2. Mark Says:

    Africa has some serious problems. I should end it there, because I think that their problems are so huge that I can’t even think of a good way to start any real solutions. But every little bit helps. Anything as potentially big as the Red campaign will certainly help, I think.

    I also think that you are seriously underestimating Africa’s problems there if you believe that we (the West) would encourage promiscuity by distributing condoms. I think a more realistic problem with distributing condoms would be that people simply wouldn’t use them.

    That is a strange statement from the Red campaign, though. Reductionist to the point of being annoying. Maybe I need a pill.

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