Bloggers Speak Out on Abstinence, HIV/AIDS

Hear listener feedback to recent stories on one woman's choice to remain celibate until marriage and the effect of HIV/AIDS on the nation's capitol.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on conversations happening on the TELL ME MORE blog and get a chance to hear from you.

Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio as always.

Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Now there are two topics that have had folks buzzing on our blog this week. We started the week by talking to Dr. Lindsay Marsh. Now she's in her 30s, a medical doctor, a minister, and she has no problem telling the world that she's also a virgin.

I E: A Guide to Purity." Now Marsh talked to us about why she's encouraging people of all ages to abstain from premarital sex. Now, you can imagine that there are a lot of opinions out there about this, and we have a lot of e-mails about it.

One listener Jamie(ph) was not excited when she heard that we'd be talking to Marsh. Now get this, she wants to hear more about those choosing not to abstain.

JAMIE: Can someone please have on a bunch of guests that had happy, healthy, responsible, fulfilling sex lives as non-married people, especially women? What about folks who don't marry? Maybe they just don't want to or maybe your spouse dies? Doesn't have to be prematurely. Women tend to outlive the men, and old ladies deserve to have good sex too.

MARTIN: Well, okay Jamie don't hold back. But I think part of Dr. Marsh's point is that the sex positive side is pretty well-represented at the media. I mean, "Sex in the City," hello.

But Jamie was not alone in her reaction. Another listener wrote to say as for your guest not kissing or doing anything beyond hand-holding, that all depends on the individual. You can put on a brakes, but there's another stigma. Women who know how to put on the brakes are called a tease. I take full responsibility for my choices, and one is not to settle for anything less than what I want.

That's what she said.

HILL: That's what she said and speaking of choices when it comes to being sexually active, early this week, we told you about an important new study out of our own backyards here in Washington, D.C. The nation's capital has the highest rate of AIDS cases nationally.

Now, that's 128.4 cases per 100,000 residents, compared to 14 cases per 100,000 nationally. Now the report also talked about how heterosexual sex has become a leading source of transmission, which was a surprise to some. On our blog, Lakesha(ph) had this reaction.

The numbers are there, and HIV is a reality, one that none of us will be spared from if awareness and prevention are not the focal point of this fight. We need to be creative, she says. Now also on her blog post, Lakesha recommends a film that she says increases HIV-AIDS education. You can read her full posting for the name of the film by going to our blog. Just click on the entry Washington's Health scare.

MARTIN: Okay, well, thank you for that. Anything else, Lee?

HILL: Yes, a very special thank you to all those who shared with us their Thanksgiving attitude's gratitude. As you know, Michel, we get a call out on the blog, and several of our listeners shared their personal stories with us. So from us to you, thank you.

MARTIN: Yes, thank you for that.

We have another listener callout as we wrap up 2007. We want to know who is your person of the year. It doesn't matter if they are famous or infamous, we want to know. So tell us more about what you think.

You can go to npr.org/tellmemore, and blog it out.

And that's our program for today.

I'm Michel Martin. You've been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Let's talk more on Monday.

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