Friday, March 5, 2010

Blog 2: Sexuality and Health

We cannot ask ourselves this question enough, but who is spreading HIV/AIDS? It cannot possibly be you or me. It must be someone else that I do not know or lives half way across the world. Unfortunately, this is not true and Americans cannot expect to have complete confidence in doctors to explain the spread of this epidemic because the public is equally just as important in the search for these answers.

Traveling and migrating to new places can play a surprising role in the spread of HIV/AIDS because if the people who are travelling come in contact with the infected, they contract the disease typically without knowing. For example, the reading about Oaxaca, Mexico discusses the migrant workers who traveled to the US boarders. In their free time they found themselves bored and able to hire prostitutes for entertainment. The specific men who told their stories admitted having sex with the same women during an evening of pleasure. There is a high chance the men contracted the disease through one another’s semen. This does not necessarily mean that these men had sex with each other, although sex between two men is another prevalent cause of spreading HIV/AIDS, but their semen was spread to one another through having sex with the same women.

Also, by the public admitting to how they contracted or spread the disease challenges the stereotypes and assumptions in the world of science of how HIV/AIDS is spread. Some of these confessions include sexual contact with a spouse or intimate partner in which, the disease was transmitted, or an over-all lack of using condoms properly and consistently. Every victim or carrier of this disease have different backgrounds and reasoning as to why or to whom they passed the disease onto, but these people are included in all types of categories ranging from prostitutes to workers to married couples, showing the diversity of who is involved and infected by the disease. This challenges generalization that only the poor and underdeveloped countries are suffering.

In South Africa, there is a heavy blame put on females for spreading HIV/AIDS within the country, but in fact these women are contracting the disease from someone else such as a husband, boyfriend, or male acquaintance. The men had it first and then gave it to the women, therefore the accusations are incorrect and needs to be reevaluated as to who is carrying the disease to the African women? Not only are gender inequalities within South Africa degrade females, but also globally is hindering the care for women who have contracted the disease. “In every country, women with AIDS tend to be more socially and economically disadvantaged than men-younger, poorer, less educated, and less employed than men with AIDS. In consequence, women do not have the same access to HIV testing” (Lorber and Moore 110).

According to the South African traditions and views discussed in the reading, women have the highest rate of becoming victimized by HIV/AIDS, but have the lowest rate of attention and medical care provided for them. Also, the sexual intercourse the females have with a particular male is not always voluntary. The women are frequently forced in a variety of social and economical ways, and also the overriding desire of bearing a child.

I find it extremely important for the world outside of science and medicine to take part and feel just as important as conquering the battle of HIV/AIDS, because the public is who it is effecting and the doctors who are only there for limited support due to access, funds, and resources. Although doctors are the ones who help treat and research the disease, they can only do so much for spreading the word on the streets. Therefore, I believe everyone should take advantage of their right as a human to demand to be informed, aware, and surmount this extreme and devastating epidemic of HIV and AIDS.

I have never met a person with HIV or AIDS, but know that they are somewhere near me. The readings helped me grasp the reality of how close this disease may be to you or me and are not something that solely exists in underdeveloped countries. I also believe that when fear becomes a reality or when someone you know personally becomes a victim of HIV/AIDS, the whole spectrum of having a shield against this disease is torn down. The rawness and bona fide reality of this disease is present and may affect anyone at anytime. So don’t think that the sorrowful television ads of African people suffering from HIV/AIDS are not also making a family or friend in America suffer at the same time.

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