Much of the Western world has forgotten about AIDS, yet it continues to devastate millions of lives. But there is a guaranteed way to stop it forever.
Sexually transmitted infection rates are on the rise all around the globe, and in some places have reached epidemic levels! However, when was the last time you heard about HIV or AIDS? The global catastrophe of AIDS—and HIV, the virus that causes it—has been abandoned by the media in developed nations, despite the fact that a vast number of people contract HIV every year. This deadly disease is still here and is still devastating developing nations.
Can AIDS ever be stopped or prevented? The exciting and even “inconvenient truth” is “yes, it can!” Did you know that governments and health agencies around the globe, including the famed World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), know exactly how to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS right now? Yet, world governments and health agencies refuse to advocate for the only proven method of HIV and AIDS prevention. The public health policy journal Health Affairs reported in 2009 that the cost of treating the disease may reach $35 billion annually by 2031 in developing nations alone. So why do world leaders and premier public health agencies refuse to aggressively promote the simplest and surest way out of this epidemic? What are they afraid of?
According to the CDC, although the overall number of new HIV cases is dropping, in 2016 there were still 1.8 million new cases worldwide. HIV is the virus that causes the disease known as AIDS. One million people die from AIDS every year and, there are 37.6 million people now living with HIV. Since the epidemic began around 1981, 35 million people have died from AIDS-related diseases—a number that roughly equals the population of Poland, the Sudan, or the state of California. What if the entire population of one of these nations or the state of California were completely erased? This is the global impact of AIDS in just the last 37 years.
People in developed nations also experience HIV infections, but at far lower rates than those in the developing world. Perhaps this is why those in developed nations hear so little about AIDS today. According to the CDC, “Sub-Saharan Africa bears the biggest burden of HIV/AIDS, with two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections for 2016. Other regions significantly affected by HIV/AIDS include Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.” In May 2018, a New York Times article had the following headline: “AIDS Runs Rampant in Venezuela, Putting an Ancient Culture at Risk.” The Times reported, “The disease threatens an entire indigenous population, the Warao people of the Orinoco Delta, as government programs collapse.” Venezuela is just one of many nations being overrun by AIDS.
AIDS orphans are another group of victims gaining global attention in recent years. According to the international charity “AIDS Orphans,” there are as many as 25 million AIDS orphans worldwide. What if not one of these 25 million orphaned children had to experience the AIDS-related death of their father or mother, or both? How would their childhoods and their lives be different?
According to AIDS.gov, HIV and the outbreak we now see worldwide was first identified through rare, opportunistic infections that appeared in seemingly healthy homosexual men in 1981. Within a year, AIDS symptoms appeared in infants who had received contaminated blood through blood transfusions. Less than a year after that, in 1983, public health experts discovered that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was also spread through heterosexual contact.
In the U.S., between 2002 and 2011, HIV infection rates decreased among every population group except homosexual men (Journal of the American Medical Association, July 23/30, 2014). Among homosexual men ages 13–24 and age 45 and above, HIV rates increased. Among the 13–24-year-olds specifically, HIV infections increased over 130 percent (ibid.). According to CDC.gov, in 2016, 77 percent of new AIDS cases in the U.S. occurred among homosexual and bisexual men and injection drug users, while 23 percent occurred in heterosexuals.
Globally, over 13 million people inject drugs, according to the U.N. The AIDS virus, HIV, is spread through sexual contact with an infected person, sharing of contaminated needles, from mother-to-child during pregnancy, childbirth or through breast feeding, and through transfusions with contaminated blood. Ultimately, though, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection, or STI. And like other STIs, the best way to control and prevent this deadly disease is behavioral in nature—as even the top public health agencies know and generally teach. However, there is one proven method of HIV/AIDS prevention that public health agencies and governments completely ignore because it is not politically correct. It is an ethical action that is increasingly anathema to our modern society.
The World Health Organization lists six key prevention strategies designed to reduce the incidence of HIV and AIDS. They are:
What is the glaring omission from this list of preventive AIDS strategies? While the WHO advocates for medical male circumcision as an HIV/AIDS prevention technique, even though it is politically incorrect in many circles, it lacks the courage to strongly recommend the one action that is the cheapest and most effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategy available: limiting sexual activity to a monogamous marriage between husband and wife!
About 3,500 years ago God, through His prophet Moses, gave simple laws and statutes designed to make His nation unique and blessed among nations. Many of His commands related to public health and societal infrastructure, in addition to their religious applications.
In Exodus 15:26, God promised, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
Ancient Egyptian history shows they had many of the same diseases that plague our modern society, including heart disease, cancer, STIs and other infectious conditions. God told Israel that if they would obey His laws He would protect them from all sorts of diseases. But, was God promising supernatural protection in exchange for subservience, or was there more to it?
Leviticus 26:14–16 warns, “But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.” This is suggestive of the symptoms of some of the opportunistic infections that kill AIDS victims. These diseases destroy the immune system and cause the body to waste away, sometimes literally “consuming” the flesh and even the eyes, and ultimately stopping the heart from beating.
It is important to remember that the Lord of the Israelites is the same one who later became Jesus Christ. He is the Savior who the Apostle Paul noted in Hebrews 13:8 is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He was the same Being with the same demand for obedience 3,500 years ago as He is today. And He wants to bless those who are obedient today by putting “none of these diseases” on them (Exodus 15:26, KJV), just as He wanted to do with the ancient Israelites.
It is sobering to realize this biblical key to preventing AIDS is one scientists, physicians and government officials know will work, but are too afraid to promote. Most officials are well-meaning and dedicate their careers to helping people, but they steer far clear of advocating for this powerful prevention method.
In the Bible, chapter 20 of the book of Exodus lists the Ten Commandments. In verse 14 of that chapter, God provides a short, clear command that, if obeyed, would stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and virtually all STIs! The command’s five simple words are “You shall not commit adultery.” Jesus repeated this command in Matthew 19:17–18. The Apostle Paul amplified it in 1 Corinthians 6:18 when he said, “Flee sexual immorality,” or as the King James Version has it, “Flee fornication.”
Today “adultery” and “fornication” are outdated terms. Ironically, they are losing their meaning as the definition of marriage also changes. To better understand God’s prevention tool, we must understand what adultery and fornication mean, according to the Bible.
To understand adultery and fornication, we must recognize their roots in the biblical definition of marriage. God defined marriage in Genesis 2 as being between one man and one woman. This heterosexual marriage relationship was designed to bring about “godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15). God also designed marriage as a tool to help a man and a woman become one flesh, physically and spiritually (Genesis 2:24; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:16). A monogamous heterosexual marriage is the only place God intended for a sexual relationship to occur. He is the Eternal who designed sex in the first place! He designed sex as a blessing for a husband and wife in marriage. And He had every right to dictate how and when it should be used. God commanded against the use of sex outside of marriage—not only before marriage (which is fornication) but with someone other than your spouse after you are married (which is adultery).
How effectively would confining sexual relations to a monogamous marriage between one man and woman solve the spread of STIs like syphilis, human papillomavirus (genital warts and cervical cancer), gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS? The clear answer is that these diseases would essentially disappear in a generation!
Why does confining sex to a marriage between one man and one woman make people so angry? Perhaps because no one wants to be told that there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to live. Humanity wants the freedom to make its own choices while also ignoring the consequences. But, the painful reality is that our actions always have consequences. And in the case of sexual activity outside of marriage, some of these consequences are deadly!
Genesis 1:26 reminds us that God created human beings in His image. And God designed us to be able to avoid many diseases and even forms of sexually related depression, if we choose to live within His definition of marriage. God wants to bless us and bless our lives. He is not a selfish and egotistical god who lurks in the shadows waiting to pounce on us when we break His commandments. God gave us His commandments to protect and bless us (Deuteronomy 5:33), not to confine and punish us and eliminate our freedoms, as many mistakenly claim.
The sad irony about HIV and AIDS is that the Bible has the solution the entire world longs for—a solution our world leaders know will work. No legitimate public health expert would deny that limiting sexual relations to a monogamous, heterosexual marriage would prevent the spread of dozens of STIs, including AIDS! The Bible outlines preventative health behaviors that are virtually 100 percent effective in stopping AIDS and other STIs, and our leaders know they will work! What is also exciting is that these biblical preventatives have no contraindications and no adverse side effects. Sadly, too many of our leaders are not interested in the health of their public. They are more interested in obtaining votes to keep themselves in office. Because of this, they naturally lack courage to face the political and social backlash that would follow if they allowed the advocacy of godly prevention efforts.
So, what would the world be like if people actually kept the seventh commandment—“You shall not commit adultery”? Imagine what society would be like if sexual relations only occurred within a marriage between one man and one woman. How would this affect teenage pregnancy? How would this affect the phenomena of absentee fathers and single-parent families? What would happen to the widespread and emotionally devastating atrocity of rape? How would lives and societies be changed if all children grew up in a family with a loving father and mother, both present because they had not died of AIDS? How would families be different if they did not have to watch a loved one die of AIDS-related wasting diseases? Most of the 35 million people who have died from AIDS had families who suffered as they watched them die. Many children have watched their parents die. This same suffering continues around the world today. How different would the world be today if these 35 million people had not died? How different would the lives of their families and friends be if they had not experienced such a horrific loss?
The suffering that comes from HIV/AIDS and most other STIs does not need to happen. It is completely preventable! And this suffering will be prevented in the near future, when Jesus Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom on this earth, based fully on His loving, life-giving laws—laws which God explains were designed for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). Isn’t this the type of life for which everyone on earth truly longs?
One of the former things that will pass away when God’s laws regarding marriage are fully kept is this horrible disease we call AIDS. It will pass away because the leaders of this future society will have the courage, wisdom and love for the people they govern to tell them the truth about how to prevent such needless suffering, and how to live a more peaceful and abundant life. How badly do you yearn to be part of a society like that? How deeply do you hope for a time when people will suffer no more? Do you long for a time when the plight of AIDS orphans will be one of the former things referenced only in history books?
In the Bible, God gives us powerful keys to avoid and stop disease and its inevitable consequences. Although society today is not interested, you can choose to follow His biblical directions right now. If you choose to do this, it is possible to experience many of the health blessings that come with obedience to God’s laws and statutes.
For a more detailed vision of how life can change when we follow the health and other guidelines of the Bible, request our booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?