Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
In yet another example of taxpayer abuse, it has been discovered that the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has awarded more than $250,000 to a University of Washington study that established “web-based sex diaries” for homosexual men as young as 16 in order to collect “sexual behavior data.”
CNSNews.com is reporting that the NIAID, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has already awarded $126,000 to the study, entitled “The Importance of Early Sexual Experiences Among Men Who Have Sex with Men,” and will grant more than $250,000 of taxpayer funds by the time the grant ends in 2011.
According to the grant abstract, “The study’s second aim is to assess the feasibility of using web-based sex diaries to collect sexual behavior data and to identify the appropriate diary schedule. MSM [men who have sex with men] will be randomly assigned diary schedules and we will compare the frequency of reported behaviors across diary schedules and against the retrospective questionnaire data.”
The purpose of the study is to follow 100 sexually active homosexual men ages 16-30 to determine if those who engage in same-sex relations at an early age are more likely to engage in further risky sexual behavior and, if so, what types of risky sexual behavior they engage in.
Researchers will try to find patterns in their sexual behaviors, such as condom use, HIV status disclosure, and their sexual repertoire. The men involved in the study will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire about their early sexual experiences, to submit to regular HIV tests, and to fill out sex diaries detailing the sex acts they engage in.
CNSNews asked the NIAID and Dr. Matthew R. Golden, principal investigator at the University of Washington in Seattle, how they would explain to the average working family in America why taxing them to pay for this grant is justified.
Dr. Golden did not respond to the question, but a spokeswoman for the NIAID said in an e-mail that one of the primary research goals of the “is to augment efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men in the United States, a population that is disproportionately affected by HIV and STIs.”
The small pilot program of Dr. Golden will determine the feasibility of a larger study to determine the patterns of behavior of young sexually active homosexual men which can help scientists develop more effective HIV and STI prevention.
“With the lifetime cost of HIV/AIDS treatment in the United States estimated to range from $470,600 to $665,500 per person in 2004 dollars (which is $550,000 to $779,000 per person in 2010 dollars), it is more cost-effective to prevent HIV infection than to treat it,” the spokeswoman said.
The Catholic Church’s positions on homosexuality, which is based on Scripture, believes homosexual acts are always intrinsically disordered, and calls those persons with homosexual inclinations to the same chastity that is expected of unmarried heterosexuals.
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (CCC 2357– 2359).
It is worth noting that while the NIAID acknowledges the high risk of HIV and STI’s associated with active homosexual men, they do not appear to be funding the study for the purpose of developing the most effective preventive measure possible – abstinence.
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