Tuesday, May 17, 2011


HIV Awareness

Sunday 15th May, World HIV awareness day passed by without much fanfare on the local front. HIV awareness is an issue that is dear to me since beating the disease involves continuous education. Anything that is HIV related always puts me in an introspective mood. I think of the young women whose vulnerability exposes them to situations where they cannot negotiate sexual encounters, the young girls whose first sexual experience is borne out of violence,those who refuse to use condoms and those who fear testing lest it exposes them to discrimination.

While the attitudes are slowly changing re people living with HIV/AIDS there is still a long way to go. I believe the attitudinal changes can be partly attributed to those brave persons who have made their status known and continue to live and work amongst us. So I found Will.I.Am's comments re women who keep condoms in their homes as being "tacky" to be full of male/societal double standards. The sexual reality is that some people are going to have casual sex, chance encounters, multiple partners and engage in behaviours that others would frown on. Does it therefore mean that their lifestyle excludes them from being proactive in guarding their sexual health? Methinks not!

I think the judgmental stances do very little to help the issue at stake which is HIV transmission/infection. Not everyone is going to subscribe to the one partner ideal and truth be told I often wonder if fidelity is a word only found in dictionaries. For that matter even if you are in a long term relationship it is still wise to keep your stash on hand. Therefore Will.I.Am's comments were at best irresponsible if not idiotic. Yes it is his views and his stance on sexual behaviour but when you command a following your views carry more sway with some sectors of the population. The reality is that women are the ones most affected by this disease and the onus is on them to protect themselves. Their very lives depend on it.

Well said Kami ... the double standard will never end so organizations and groups should continue to focus on education consistently if we expect to see a reduction of the # of HIV cases in the Caribbean and the world at large.
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