HIV changed view of sex, diseases and other parts of life. Society links HIV with certain things such as sex and sin because of religious, government, and social influences. AIDS has also been associated with minorities and gay men. Out of all the people effected, AIDS is the worst for people who are not able take care of themselves.
There are many who view this as an act of God, ‘”…the stroke of God’s wrath for the sins of mankind,”’. Reverend Jerry Falwell even stated on TV, “Do it and die”. In the past, rhetoric behind HIV was very morally based. Many individuals, mostly religious people and conservatives, viewed having HIV or AIDS as God’s holly punishment for sinners. Religion’s inability to accept homosexuality has caused people who sufferer from AIDS to become targeted. But not all of those who are religious condemn homosexuality. An article in a 2005 issue of the Emory Report an article caught my attention. Note Nov 11, 2012 (2) This article is about gay rights, as applied through religion. One of the best points made in this article was “..that whatever governments do about same-sex marriage or same-sex unions, Christian churches still have a question before them. The legal solution will not solve the religious question.” The same process can be applied to those with AIDS. The author also claims that scriptures are not always against homosexuality, there are churches such as the Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ that do not condemn homosexuality. So therefore, these churches do not see HIV and AIDS as God’s wrath against the gays. The article compares homosexual marriages and heterosexual marriages to what a biblical marriage.
Government and religion’s influence were two major points in this weeks reading, and this made me think about the fact that those two are the most influential things in our country, pop culture and media not included. If religion and government both are portraying negativity on the subject then the public will be unaware and uneducated as to the real problems occurring. On page 124, paragraph 3 of the Lewis article, surveys showed some disturbing things about America’s perception of AIDS and HIV. 60% showed no sympathy towards HIV victims, 30% wished them quarantined, and 25% favored discrimination towards HIV and AIDS victims. Four years after the initial survey, 27% still felt that people with AIDS should not get any compassion. Even if Koop did release a book outlining the dangers of HIV and AIDS, present Regan was not vocal about it and still there is a misunderstanding of what is actually going on.
This is why Alicia Lurry’s article in a 2004 edition of the Emory Wheel stood out to me Note Nov 11, 2012 (1). She states that woman over the age of 50 are living longer and having more sex, therefore their chance of getting and transmitting AIDS is higher than they were before. What seemed in earlier years to be non-threatened demographic, white middle-aged women are now in danger too. In a survey, none of the women answered all 9 questions correctly. Most of the time these women received information about AIDS through television and friends. Less then half claimed they got information from healthcare providers. There is one quote that I believe is crucial in comparing our readings to this article, “The misconception is that older people don’t have sex anymore and that they are really are not engaging in risky activity.” This is the same misconception that labeled AIDS as a gay disease. This is the same misconception that leads to religion to condemn individuals with the disease. This is the same misconception that lead the government to tip-toe around the AIDS issue.
Our societies misconceptions about sex and who is having it are a detriment to how we as a country handles HIV and AIDS. If the interpretation of a problem is wrong, how can we as a society fix our misconception, and how long does it take to fix this misconception? If Ronald Regan, the President considered to be the greatest conservative ever, had been more publicly supportive of the plight of AIDS victims maybe in the present we would have been better off as a country, but as stated before, regardless of what government does to try and fix the issue, religion will still have its issues with sex and STDs. This is a issue with problems coming at it from all sides.