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Understanding True Love series
Some important facts about this frightening disease and how to keep yourself safe from its dangers.
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Lesson 10: AIDS—How to be Safe
A married man was unfaithful to his wife. He met a beautiful woman in a bar, and they spent the night together in a hotel room.
The next morning, when he awoke, she had already gone. But she left a message, written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. The message read:
What is AIDS?
The name “AIDS” stands for “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” This means that the immune system has become “deficient”—unable to operate as it should.
Everyone has what is called an “immune system.” This means that our body builds a protection against diseases that could invade our body and threaten our life. The AIDS virus attacks this immune system and destroys it. The person is then left without the ability to fight diseases.
People do not die directly of AIDS, but rather of some infection or illness they cannot fight off. A “harmless” virus or a simple cold that would be no threat to a healthy person can be deadly to someone with AIDS.
How is AIDS transmitted?
AIDS is transmitted when infected body fluids of one person are introduced into the body of another person. AIDS is most commonly passed from person to person through sexual contact. It is important to understand that every sexual act provides the possibility for transmitting the disease.
It is also very important to understand that, when you have sex with someone, you are linked sexually with everyone that person has had sex with…and everyone they have had sex with! You are linked sexually with everyone in that “network.” If anyone in the entire network has AIDS, then you have been exposed to this deadly disease.
The old saying, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” is not true. What you do not know can not only hurt you; it can kill you! Most young people know how AIDS is transmitted, but they do not know how to avoid getting it.
Untold millions of people worldwide have AIDS! The numbers appear to be doubling every 10 to 12 months. Most of these people have no symptoms of AIDS; yet they are capable of spreading the disease. It is predicted that 75 percent of those carrying the virus will develop full-blown AIDS within ten years. Within 15 to 20 years, 90 percent of all AIDS carriers will have fullblown cases.
It is frightening to think about a deadly disease that can lie dormant in your body for a long time (15 years is an estimate) and then break out and destroy you. It is also frightening to realize that, during this time, you can pass this on to anyone you have sex with. It is likewise true that the other person can have it and not know it and pass it on to you.
Researchers compare AIDS with history’s worst killers, like the bubonic plague of the 14th century.
By the time the epidemic subsided a few years later, at least a quarter to a third of all Europeans—perhaps 25 million—had perished. Researchers predict a worldwide death toll in the tens of millions in the near future.
Statistics do not tell the story of how terrifying and tortuous AIDS is to its victims.
- Frank lies in bed and waits to die. He weighs only 93 pounds. His bones stick out of his body and his eyes are sunken in dark sockets. Beneath him in bed are towels soaked in sweat while he waits for an occasional visit from a friend bringing food or money. He is thirty-eight years old. While most of his friends are succeeding and enjoying life, he is near death. He wants to die. “I look forward to it,” he says. “I wish it would happen tomorrow. I have no life.”
- "We’re all going to die,” says a team leader at an AIDS hospice in San Francisco. Others in the center just lie silently hugging teddy bears and smoking cigarettes. Ed smokes three packs a day. His room is furnished with fresh flowers and a picture of his parents. Ed, like many others, is waiting. He virtually disappears among the covers, his body has now become so shriveled.
- David’s days start with shaking and trembling. He piles blankets high to keep warm. By the afternoon, the covers are kicked off, as he sweats with fever: “I really do not care about anything. I soak my bed in night sweats. You just drip. You move from spot to spot on the bed looking for a dry place. You sleep in a pool of sweat.”
Of all the sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS is the most feared. With good reason, too. If you get AIDS, you usually die. It is just that simple.
Most young people think, “But I don’t plan to have intimate contact with anyone who has AIDS.” The problem is that 90% of those who have the AIDS virus do not even know it yet. It can be years after a person is exposed before he or she sees some signs of the disease.
However, the moment a person gets the AIDS virus, he or she can give it to others. There may be no feeling of sickness or any symptoms, but that person is a carrier. So looking at a person’s health is no indication of whether or not that person has AIDS.
Condoms do not prevent STDs
Condoms may reduce the risk of STDs but they do not prevent them. Doctors warn that condoms give a false sense of security. Reducing the risk is not the same as eliminating the risk…The truth is, doctors cannot fix most of the things you can catch out there. The truth is: There is no “safe sex” with condoms. We should stop kidding ourselves.
Condoms are no guarantee for preventing pregnancy. They can and do fail many times. Couples who use condoms to prevent pregnancy discover the failure rate is 10 percent or more per year.
Depending on condoms to prevent AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases is much riskier. A woman can get pregnant only two or three days in a month, but STDs can be transmitted 365 days in the year. If condoms are not used properly, or if they slip or break just once, deadly viruses can be exchanged. It takes only one exposure to the virus to develop a disease.
Regardless of who you are, if you are sexually active, you are at risk of contracting an STD. It is also true that condoms offer no protection at all from a broken heart or shattered dreams.
The incredibly small AIDS virus
One thing that makes AIDS so deadly is that the HIV virus that causes AIDS is incredibly small. The HIV virus is one twenty-fifth the width of the human sperm. It can easily pass through the tiniest imperfections in surgical gloves…or condoms.
Researchers studying surgical gloves made of latex, the same material recommended for use in condoms, found “channels of 5 microns that penetrated the entire length of the glove.”
A micron is one millionth of a meter. An imperfection of 5 microns would be about one twelfth the width of one of your hairs. But the HIV virus that causes AIDS is only one-tenth of a micron! Like a teacher said, “Fifty AIDS viruses could tap dance through a five micron defect holding hands!”
The smallest detectable defect in a condom is one micron, but remember that the AIDS virus is one-tenth the size of that hole.
A study was made of married people in which one partner was infected with the AIDS virus. Within a year and a half, 17% of the uninfected partners using condoms for protection caught the disease. That is one out of six.
Look at it this way: If you were considering joining a sky diving club, and you were told that the failure rate on parachutes was one out of six, would you jump? Probably not. When it comes to something that is a life or death matter, we do not want to take any unnecessary risk.
At a conference of 800 sexologists some years ago, the question was asked, “Would you trust a thin rubber sheath [a condom] to protect you during intercourse with a known HIV-infected person?” Guess how many hands went up? Not one!
I'll miss out on all the fun"
“But if I don’t have sex, I’ll miss out on all the fun.”
No, you won’t. It is like putting money in the bank. You are not throwing your money away when you put it into a savings account. You are saving it for a future time when you can draw it out and spend it with pleasure.
Saving sex for marriage is building a “love savings account” to be withdrawn at the right time and spent with great joy with the right person.
Speaking of fun, sex is not much fun when you are sick or dying. Sex is no fun at all when you are dead.
Enjoy 100% Safe Sex
According to the dictionary, the word “safe” means, “freedom from danger; involving no risk.” Being safe means absolutely no risk. You are either safe or you are not. If there is any risk involved, you are not safe.
Sometimes young people are told that the best they can do to protect themselves against AIDS is to “know their partner” (whatever that means), wear a condom during intercourse, avoid anal intercourse, and not make sexual decisions while using drugs or alcohol.
That is NOT the best they can do to protect themselves. There is something far better—something that carries a 100% guarantee of safety. It is abstinence—saying no to sex before marriage.
The young person who says no to sex before marriage, and marries someone who has made that same choice, does not have to worry about AIDS and the other STDs. As long as the couple remains faithful to each other, they can enjoy sex that is truly 100% safe. AIDS and the other deadly STDs have made this a dangerous world in which to live. Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage is the way to enjoy truly safe sex.
You will be tempted
Satan is not only a liar, but he is a murderer. Our Lord Jesus said that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44).
Satan wants to destroy you and he has many ways of doing this. He destroys some people with drugs and alcohol. He destroys others by sexually transmitted diseases.
You will be tempted! Satan wants to deceive you with his Big Lie: Sin will make you happy and there are no bad consequences. But you do not have to be deceived by Satan. You do not have to give in to sin.
In His Word, God gives us examples of young people who faced temptations, the decisions they made, and the consequences of those decisions. There were two young men—Joseph and Samson—who faced really strong sexual temptations. First, we will consider the example of Joseph; then, that of Samson.
Joseph—chose obeying God over temptation
Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, born to him in his old age. Jacob loved Joseph more than all his elder brothers. This caused the older brothers to hate Joseph.
When Joseph was seventeen years old, his father sent him to a distant land where his brothers were taking care of their flocks of sheep. The brothers saw their chance to get rid of Joseph, so they sold him as a slave to a caravan of traders going to Egypt. The brothers told their father that wild animals had killed Joseph.
Through no fault of his own, Joseph ended up as a slave in the house of a wealthy Egyptian named Potiphar. Joseph was diligent and he served his master well. Soon Potiphar made Joseph his overseer and put him in charge of all that he had. God prospered Joseph in all that he did. But Satan was laying a trap for him.
Joseph was a strong, handsome young man. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph, and she determined to have sex with him. She said, “Lie with me.” But Joseph refused.
Joseph said to her,
“...my master has committed all that he has to me. There is none greater in this house than I, and he has not kept back any thing from me but you, because you are his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8-9).
Many times, Potiphar’s wife begged Joseph to have sex with her, but he refused. He would not even be alone with her. One day, when there were no other servants in the house, she caught him by his coat, and boldly commanded him, “Lie with me!” Joseph ran out of the house, leaving his coat behind.
Potiphar’s wife was furious! She called the other servants together and told them that Joseph had tried to rape her. When her husband came home, she told him the same lie. Potiphar had Joseph put in the king’s prison.
Again, through no fault of his own, Joseph was in terrible circumstances. But God was with him.
In time Joseph was exalted by Pharaoh to be made the ruler over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph a beautiful bride who bore Joseph two sons. In time, Joseph brought his father, Jacob, and his whole family to Egypt to save them from a famine.
God says, “…them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30).
The lesson God wants us to learn from the life of Joseph is this: If we honor God, God will honor us. Joseph chose to honor God. He ran from the temptation to sin. He ended up with a beautiful family and a lifetime of happiness with God’s blessing.
Samson—chose temptation over obeying God
God chose Samson to be a deliverer of His people. The children of Israel had done evil and God had allowed them to be defeated by their enemies, the Philistines. God raised up Samson to deliver His people.
Samson was like other men, but when the Spirit of God came on him, he had incredible, superhuman strength. He carried no weapons, but he was a one-man army! On one occasion, using the jawbone of a donkey, Samson killed a thousand armed Philistine warriors!
But Samson had a fatal weakness—he did not control his desire for sex. Samson began having sex with a Philistine beauty named Delilah. Samson knew he was disobeying God, but he continued to have sex with Delilah.
The Philistine leaders learned about Samson’s sexual relationship with Delilah. They promised her a huge sum of money if she discovered the secret of Samson’s power.
Delilah was an agent of Satan. She knew how to use her sexual charms to discover Samson’s secret. She pushed him daily. Finally Samson gave in and told her that, if his hair was cut, he would be as weak as any man.
Delilah knew that Samson had told her his secret. When Samson was asleep on her lap, a man crept in and shaved his head. Then Delilah woke Samson, saying, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!”
Samson thought he could go out as before, but he discovered that the Lord had departed from him. This time he was as weak as any other man. The Philistines captured him.
The first thing they did was to gouge out his eyes. Then they bound him in chains and led him off to prison in Gaza. Samson spent the rest of his life, blind and in chains, grinding grain for his enemies.
The lesson God wants us to learn from the life of Samson is this: When we choose to disobey God, there are always bad consequences!
(For more about the stories of Joseph and Samson, see this series: Moody Bible Stories.)
When you are tempted, stop and think. Ask yourself these seven questions before you act:
Is this temptation a violation of God’s law? You need to know what God’s Word says. Whatever your temptation, see what the Bible says. There are many verses that deal with sexual immorality.
All sexual immorality is a violation of the will of God. This includes fornication, adultery, and homosexual acts. The Bible says, “…they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).
Over and over again, God says that sex is for married people who are faithful to each other. The Bible says,
“Marriage is honorable in all, and the [marriage] bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).
What have been the consequences in the lives of other people who have yielded to this sin? Some of the consequences in this life are pregnancy, guilt, shame, loss of self-respect, the feeling of being dirty, STDs and AIDS.
There is also the matter of the eternal consequences. The Bible says,
“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
If I yield to this sin, how will it affect me? There is no such thing as sinning against God without bad consequences. It will affect my schooling, my family, and those who love and respect me. It will also affect God’s will for my life and my whole future.
Am I willing to pay the consequences of giving in to this temptation? The momentary pleasure is not worth a lifetime of pain and regret. Two of the saddest words in the human language are, “If only… If only I had not done that!”
The Bible says,
“Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).
Will yielding to this temptation satisfy me? Satan’s lie is, “One time never hurt anybody.” That “one time” is how people get hooked on smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, and sex.
The more you yield to the temptation the stronger the temptation. Once you get hooked on sex, you will do almost anything to get sex. The more you yield to the temptation, the stronger the temptation, and the less it satisfies you. When a person gets hooked on drugs, he will do almost anything to get more drugs. The same thing is true of sex. It is also a fact that many who indulge in excessive sex end up impotent—unable to have sex at all. This often happens at an early age.
Is the decision to say yes to this temptation a wise decision? Will this decision please God? No, it will displease Him.
Every command of God is an expression of His love for us. Satan wants you to believe his lie: Sex is fun and there are no bad consequences.
The truth is: If it is God’s will for you to be married, He wants you to enjoy sex to the fullest and over the longest period of time. That is why God tells you to say NO to sex outside of marriage.
How can I do this great sin against God? Satan wants you to focus on the object of your temptation and keep your focus there. He wants you to think that you must have this thing. He does not want you to think about God.
That is what happened to Samson. He did not think about God and the consequences. The object of his attention was sex. He ended up blind, in chains, grinding grain for his enemies.
Joseph kept his attention on God. He said, “How can I do this great evil and sin against God?” He honored God and God honored him. He ended up as ruler of Egypt, with a beautiful family and the blessing of God on his life. Think what Joseph would have lost if he had given in to an evil, scheming, seductive woman.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are indwelled by Christ. He is living in you by His Spirit. He has promised that He will never leave you.
This means that Christ sees everything you see, He hears everything that you hear, and He is with you in everything that you do. When you have sex with someone who is not your marriage partner, you are taking the Son of God with you.
The Bible says,
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid!” (1 Corinthians 6:15).
When you have sex with someone, you become one with that person. How can you commit sexual immorality and involve the Holy Son of God in it? How can you do this great evil and sin against a holy, loving Father who hates sin because He hates the consequences of sin?
If you yield to sin, you will lose your joy as a child of God. You will have guilt and shame. You will be chastened by God.
If you honor God and obey Him, you will be honored by God. God pours blessing upon blessing on His children who obey Him.
“Blessed [happy] is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12).