This post will be a bit different than previous posts. No witty banter, intense sarcasm or satire will be featured here. You see, for my Global Health class, we are given an assignment to write a blog about something we have learned in the semester. In all truthfulness, I am quite excited about this assignment. For once my random babble can be used for something more than entertaining family and friends. Let the seriousness begin.
Earlier in the semester we watched an AIDS video from Frontline. At first glance, I was not looking forward to this endeavor. The video was close to four hours long, and let's face it, I would much rather had been watching The Office or Gilmore Girls. Alas, I finally grabbed my laptop, some Triscuit and Easy Cheese, and pressed the play button on what would be a life-altering video.
Being a Behavioral Science and Health major, I have come across the subject of AIDS every semester. I know it is a devastating pandemic. I know it is preventable. What I did not know upon beginning this video is how America's leaders took a back seat to this serious issue.
The subject of AIDS is a large taboo. The HIV virus is spread by fluids such as blood and semen that put intravenous drug users and those participating in unprotected sex at risk. In the 1980s when AIDS was making an appearance in the United States, the main population infected were homosexual men. Instead of attacking this deadly disease with all hands on deck, President Reagan's administration responded with silence and indifference. This silence turned out to be deadly, and by barely even acknowledging HIV/AIDS the virus continued it's rapid spread.
Some politicians even seemed happy that this virus was attacking homosexual men and drug users. One politician stated, "AIDS. It's killing all the right people." This statement makes me sick to the stomach. Personally, I believe that what you do with your life is completely up to you, and AIDS just happened to be infecting these individuals based on its mode of transmission, NOT on the type of lifestyle you lead. I could go into this in more detail, but I prefer to stay away from religious debates.
Okay politicians, some of you think that AIDS was killing all the "right" people, do you? How about once the HIV virus entered the blood supply and young, innocent hemophiliacs became infected? Is the disease still ridding the world of those you find unfit to live here? I dare say no! By taking a back seat to a new disease, I believe the government allowed the spread of a disease across the country. I decline to blame them for the spread of the disease, but they sure didn't do much to help stop the spread.
Finally, as stated earlier, there are ways to prevent the spread of AIDS. Many countries have seen success from dispensing condoms and providing clean needles to the drug community. The majority of these countries have seen a drastic decline in infections with AIDS. These preventive measures work, so hopefully the United States takes part in them.
Hopefully is the key work here. Sadly, the United States declines to participate in a free clean needle exchange because it seems as if we are "contributing" to these distasteful habits. Once again, this heavy taboo against who AIDS affects and the inactivity of our nations government is only contributing to the spread of one of the biggest and most deadly diseases since the Black Plague.
Only when America's government decides to step up to the plate, and push all stigmas aside, will be hopefully see a decline in the incidence and prevalence of AIDS. Until then, this disease is thriving in the inactivity of its leaders.