The tale of HIV "dirtiness", gay sex, and society

Published: January 26, 2015

JZ blog
JZ
Original Article:  bit.ly/1ChQSvL

It`s been over 30 years since the discovery of HIV, yet, still, after so many years, we find stigma, moralism, and judgments attached to this condition and to those whose life path has been crossed by it, often fuelled by beliefs and attitudes.

You may know that, in the beginning, HIV was called GRID – Gay Related Immuno Deficiency; a terrible decision that would leave a mark behind, even today. But why would anyone relate a newly discovered disease, exclusively to a group of people, to their sexuality / orientation? I would argue that the answers are hidden in the history and the perceived / socially constructed nature of gay / male to male sex.

Male to male sex, has been for ages perceived as something negative, immoral, bad and worthy of punishment; often such connections has been established through social constructs of dirtiness; and through the notion of sodomy. Having sex with a man, was looked at as not only something dirty, it also was a sin; being a sinner was seen as equal with having an unclean mind; so, we are talking about double “dirtiness” here – the actual perception of physical act and then being a sinner. This construction was then carried through history in different magnitudes, and gain a central place at the time when HIV was discovered. It was almost like a proof – male to male sex, this dirty and sinful activity leads to diseases and devastation. This resulted in a slow deployment of preventive measures, testing, educational efforts, and other initiatives that would prevent the rapid spreading of HIV in its early times. For many people, it all made sense, if one chooses to participate in a male to male sexual conduct, it is their choice, and then it is merely right for them to suffer and accept the consequences of such dirty and shameful conduct.

Full text of article available at link below:  bit.ly/1ChQSvL
 

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