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August 17, 2004

HIV and social norms

Razib, of this blog, has often spoken/written about societal structures (for example polygamy/monogamy) and how they impact on the spread of HIV. So when I was reading this article, a human interest type story on HIV postive women in South Africe, I was suprised to find this little useful nugget in an otherwise superficial tale;

She [Anne Leone] became one of the first white women in the country to publicly reveal her status after asking herself: "How can anyone be strong if one lives a life of lies and in hiding?" Few white South Africans know their HIV status or are prepared to disclose it.

And right after revealing that interesting fact they go on with the human interest story. The question they should have looked into in this piece is how HIV rates differ among the two predominant racial groups, and whether this difference is based on biology, culture, or other factors such as shame.

HIV is one area where we cannot continue to deny the cultural/biological differences between groups. However, if you talk to AIDS researchers in private they will admit to these differences, they will just worm around those facts in their grant proposals.

Posted by scottm at 04:08 PM