– not to get AIDS. That’s what an article about gel condoms over at the Salt Lake Tribune is about. In a nutshell, a liquid is applied to the vagina, there forms into a protective gel coating, and releases antiviral drugs when it comes in contact with semen.
Still about 5 years away from human trial, and 10 from availability, mind you. Life Science is fascinating stuff, but it sure takes time.
I find this heartening on the one hand – it is good that women should be able to protect themselves from deadly disease. And saddening on the other hand – what this article is talking about is rape, plainly put. When “women do not have the bargaining power to force a man to wear a condom”, that is a less painful way of saying “they are being raped”.
I am put in mind of an article in the Sueddeutsche I read years ago. Harrowing stuff about the situation in South Africa. AIDS is wide-spread, women cannot say “no”, teachers of 12-year-old girls tell reporters that they’d “be surprised if any of these girls were still virgin”. Because, you see, sex with a virgin can cure AIDS.
This is not news. It’s old stuff, from 2001 and before. It’s not news because it’s so widespread. When something horrific happens for the first time, it becomes news. When the horror becomes the status quo, it is too depressing for the media to deal with – who wants to read “children are still being raped” every month? So it slips out of the news, and is forgotten by most.
But not by all, luckily. In 2003, South Africa started addressing the issue by creation of special courts and laws.
I’m not quite sure how well this has worked in the past 3 years. Maybe I should ask Oprah.