Thursday, December 01, 2005

World AIDS awareness day

as the entry title indicates, today is world AIDS awareness day, and I was curious to see what kind of coverage the AIDS pandemic would get here in Spain. Of course, the problem is not as rife as in South Africa - far from it, in fact. So, I bought two newspapers, El País, as well as ABC. Now, it should be said that I´m not au fait with whether a newspaper might have left-leaning or right-leaning origins, so it is difficult to gauge the why´s and wherefore´s of a publication, though I enjoy reading both newspapers. And there are others, copies of which I´ve not bought, such as El Mundo, nor La Razon. The point, to get to it, is that the El País has a full-page story about an HIV+ person in Soweto, South Africa, which is a region (suburb) with the highest HIV infection rates in the world.

I don´t see and have not seen anyone wearing red AIDS awareness ribbons. For sure, in South Africa there would be a lot of news coverage about AIDS, and HIV. There is though, and maybe I´ve said this before, a lot of talk on talkshows (in South Africa) in one way or another dealing with this matter. Thing is, it´s usually in a rather strident way that the message is brought across, and veiled as some argument about empowering women. About women being in charge of their destiny, etc. It has all the characteristics of a backlash from women, and I understand this given that it is frequently the case in South Africa that women are infected with the HI virus due to infiel partners. That is, the women think that they are in a monogamous relationship, when in fact their (male) partner is getting-it-off with other persons. My gripe is that there is seldom a notion of respect for the other person in the stridency of the message. The message is : "It´s about me as woman being in control of my destiny, and men are all by default and by nature predatory. "
It´s an immature stance to take, to say the least. And unpleasant to observe, because it´s all these young girls who have adopted this "it´s all about me" message. It´s never about "I respect myself and I respect the other person." That sort of stridency does not necessarily make for a better society.

I´ve not read the El País story yet... ´Till later.


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