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Title: Myths and Misconceptions of the Orthodox View of AIDS in Africa
Authors: Geshekter, Charles
Keywords: AIDSracismpovertysocial inequality
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Charles Geshekter, "Myths and Misconceptions of the Orthodox View of AIDS in Africa", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, IX (2007) 2, pp. 330-370.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
IX (2007) 2
This article rebuts conventional claims that AIDS in Africa is a microbial problem to be
controlled through sexual abstinence, behavior modification, condoms, and drugs. The orthodox
view mistakenly attributes to sexual activities the common symptoms that define an
AIDS case in Africa - diarrhea, high fever, weight loss and dry cough. What has really
made Africans increasingly sick over the past 25 years are deteriorating political economies,
not people’s sexual behavior. The establishment view on AIDS turned poverty into a
medical issue and made everyday life an obsession about safe sex. While the vast, selfperpetuating
AIDS industry invented such aggressive phrases as “the war on AIDS” and
“fighting stigma,” it viciously denounced any physician, scientist, journalist or citizen who
exposed the inconsistencies, contradictions and errors in their campaigns. Thus, fighting
AIDS in Africa degenerated into an intolerant religious crusade. Poverty and social inequality
are the most potent co-factors for an AIDS diagnosis. In South Africa, racial inequalities
rooted in apartheid mandated rigid segregation of health facilities and disproportionate
spending on the health of whites, compared to blacks. Apartheid policies ignored
the diseases that primarily afflicted Africans - malaria, tuberculosis, respiratory infections
and protein anemia. Even after the end of apartheid, the absence of basic sanitation and
clean water supplies still affects many Africans in the former homelands and townships.
The article argues that the billions of dollars squandered on fighting AIDS should be diverted
to poverty relief, job creation, the provision of better sanitation, better drinking water,
and financial help for drought-stricken farmers. The cure for AIDS in Africa is as near
at hand as an alternative explanation for what is making Africans sick in the first place.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2007) IX/2

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