Sunday, February 27, 2005


"Miss HIV" Beauty Pageant

First, there was a beauty pageant held in China for women whose beauty was "mad made." Now in Africa, there's a "Miss HIV" beauty pageant.

Part of the aim of the pageant funded by a local charity backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and drug giant Merck as well as by major local investors such as mineral giant De Beers and British bank Barclays was to show that AIDS drugs work.

"That is at the heart of it,” Brad Ryder, spokesman for the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership, said. “Botswana was the first country in Africa to provide publicly funded ARVs. People in Washington and Geneva said it couldn’t be done. Botswana has proved them wrong."

It's great that there are anti-viral drugs that work. Still I just think that things like beauty pageants will only serve to lull people into a false sense of security. They'll think, "it's ok to sleep around. I'll use a condom. If I get HIV, I'll just take anti-viral drugs for it."

No doubt, that's probably what that gay man in Manhattan thought as he took meth and had unprotected intercourse with hundreds of men. Unfortunately, he caught a drug resistant form of the HIV virus that quickly morphed into AIDS.

On another note, reports that the HIV rate among U.S. blacks has doubled. The cause, according to researchers, is drug addiction, poverty, and lack of access to health care. They're right about drug addiction. Sharing infected needles is great way to catch HIV. But in terns of poverty/lack of access to health care, they're dead wrong. I don't think poverty automatically makes people unable to keep their pants zipped up, or their knees together.

Now, if there was a beauty pageant that would encourage that type of behavior...

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