Thursday, August 04, 2005

What Happened to AIDS?



This morning, as I was getting ready to head out to work, I stumbled across a movie on HBO that I hadn’t seen in years. It was a movie about the origin of AIDS, and the fight against the virus. I only got to watch a few minutes of it, but those few minutes were enough to remind me about something: AIDS is still a problem. As I drove to work, I started thinking about this, which lead to other thoughts about HIV, AIDS research, etc. Then something dawned on me: I haven’t even heard about AIDS in a long time. Not in the media, television, movies, posters, advertisements, medical journals...none of them cover the AIDS epidemic, like they used to. Of course it’s still covered, but on a much lower scale. So I wondered…when did AIDS stop being interesting news?

I remember when you couldn’t turn on the television without seeing an ad to help promote safe sex, or HIV prevention, or blood testing. I remember when celebrities would come out with the news that they, too were not immune to the virus (Magic Johnson…ring a bell?). I remember Ryan White. I remember school programs and posters to help spread awareness. I remember the feeling of world-wide support to fight a common enemy. Now, you have to search to find news on the latest AIDS research, or preventative measures. What happened? Did we cure AIDS? Did we figure out a retrovirus that I am not aware of? Did people stop getting infected, or something? I’m guessing not. So why don’t we hear about it anymore??

Is it just old news? Did the media decide that AIDS wasn’t as important as celebrity gossip, or preventative measures for youth smoking? I’m sorry, but what new guy Paris Hilton is screwing this week is NOT as important as a health epidemic. It’s a bit disturbing that our country’s media seems more intent on getting teenagers to stop lighting up, than it does on stopping the spread of AIDS. I also find it really disturbing that I can go to CNN to find out what happened last night on [insert reality show here], but I can’t get HIV infection statistics for my city.

Pathetic.

I guess media attention to heath epidemics is treated with the same “this is hot right now” attitude as Hollywood fashion, music trends, and movie genres (anybody else sick of the recent “if it’s a comic book, we HAVE to make a movie out of it” thing?). If this is the case, then perhaps we can assume that in a few years AIDS will become “back in style” and then maybe we’ll start hearing more about it, again.


Recent news about AIDS

19 comments:

EBethToThePowerOf? said...

there is someone in my life very near and dear to me who is living with HIV. I think about it, well, if not every day, then at least weekly. The reason you're not hearing as much about it is because we did do a good job of stopping the spread of the disease in CERTAIN SEGMENTS of the U.S. population, and because we're wealthy enough here to afford drugs that control the disease pretyt well. In undeveloped nations, the problem is severe and increasing. Google Aids and Africa and see what I mean. Also, here in the U.S., certain populations are experiencing an explosion of HIV infection, including African American women. Good post, but kind of downer in some ways. I mean, the point is, it's NOT gone, just our caring about it has--it's no longer the cause du jour it was in the '90s.

da buttah said...

Aids in Africa.

okay. I'll refrain from bitching relentlessly over the issue; however, AIDS has become a part of life...it's no longer an "epidemic" in that it's not new, fresh, exciting, and rating worthy. People care, but the media doesn't...thus it gives the semblance that no one cares

Original Blog-surfer said...

Yeah, people think that if it isn't on T.V. then it isn't an issue anymore. People need to turn off the T.V. and start thinking for themselves. Oh well, not going to happen, so no point in getting all worked up about it... Great blog going here!

Danius Maximus said...

true dat, its passe...we know what it is and we know how to keep from getting it. That doesn't stop people for one reason or another. Africa is a huge problem that unfortunately will get better much later rather than sooner but here the info on how to avoid it is available to anyone so new cases are only due to ignorance, accident, or lifestyle choice. Anyway, its still sadly alive and strong

da buttah said...

think of AIDS as a friendly reminder not to fuck monkey's.

Rowan said...

oooooh, i like you! you are so dead on about this, I worry because my daugther is 10, and she hasn't a clue what it is, and I know her....she's an early bloomer let's just say. People think I'm wrong for teaching her about sex at all (my family at any rate) but I think she's the sort that would benefit from hearing it from me first, she's very impressionable and her first impression is that lasting one. I so worry for kids growing up right now. Sleaze has more importance placed in our society than world news and epidemics...you're so right! Oh, and I hate comic books recreated into movies: childish and a money making machine. The only one I enjoyed really was spawn and I'm told that is because I never read the comic...then I would have been disappointed.

Carrie said...

you're right! it's out of the eye of the media. I hear about it all the time...i won't get into that now, but it's still lurking...and i'm sure unsafe people will be grabbed by the horns....always use a condom and don't share needles....do people still do heroine?

B.O.B.I. said...

Myth: Condoms help prevent the spread of AIDS.
Why? The HIV virus (just about any virus, in fact) is about one nanometer wide. The holes in the fibers of ANY condom are slightly less than one micron wide. That's roughly 1000 times bigger than one HIV viral organism.

Condoms are meant to prevent pregnancies ONLY. Do NOT depend on them to stop diseases... unless you count pregnancy as a disease. But then we have other problems, ya weird bastard.

Shanshu said...

I have never heard this condom-myth HIV thing before. That's kinda scary.

I want my bunky.

HighMaintenanceHussy said...

Hmmmm...I find this b.o.b.i person's post a bit suspect. Is he working for some sort of Abstinence advocacy group? Condoms help prevent the spread of HIV, dude. Sure there are exceptions, but I know of several couples in long-term relationships where one partner is positive and the other is negative, thanks to their practice of safe sex. One way to make the situation worse is to pump more misinformation into the atmosphere.

Shanshu said...

+10 points for using the word PUMP in your comment about sex.

allison said...

its hard to get attention in the country unless you're a pretty missing girl, a brain dead person in a 15 year coma, a runaway bride or a hurricane.

.: raven :. said...

i have a dear friend who is HIV positive ... almost died once .. but is doing well on the 'cocktail' .... i believe that there continues to be research going on for newer and better drugs to fight HIV / AIDS .. and for, of course, a cure.

i understand what you are saying about the media .. but i do think the efforts to combat youth smoking is essential. smoking kills many more people than AIDS ... and it's so much easier to not smoke if you've never started. take it from a 25 year smoker ... who is now trying to stay quit.

drunkbh said...

The condom myth is somewhat true. Lambskin or natural skin condoms are not as effective at preventing disease because they have tiny pores in them. The pores are large enough for the HIV virus to go through. They are made out of sheep intestines. Latex condoms are 99% effective in prevent disease if used correctly.

Now you can sleep better at night.

Crystal said...

Bennifer II is just such riveting news.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Buffy/Angel fans rule. How do you feel about Firefly?

Shanshu said...

allison: you are so right!

drunk: thanks! that does make me feel better!

raven: Trust me, I'm not saying that anti-smoking ads are not important; I was only saying that they are getting 99% more ad time, than AIDS is.

crystal: Buffyverse rules! I have never seen Firefly before.

Crystal said...

I bet you'd love it. You should check it out before the movie version, Serenity, comes out in Sept. It's a little more difficult to get into than Buffy or Angel but once you're in - you're in. My library has the dvds - if yours does you should check 'em out. :)

HighMaintenanceHussy said...

Yes, I meant latex condoms. Who uses any other kind these days? I thought they were taken off the market once AIDS seeped into the public consciousness.

Shanshu said...

crystal: it sounds like I will have to check out firefly. thanks!