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.
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