Mystery In The Southland
There’s two basic rules to follow if you don’t want to catch AIDS:
- If you belong to the overwhelming majority of humanity that likes having sex, always use a condom; and,
- If you belong to the smaller subset of humanity that likes intravenous drugs, never share a needle.
That’s pretty much it, right? There’s extra rules to follow if you’re a doctor or anyone else whose job requires the handling of medical waste, but for most people it just boils down to “Use condoms” and “don’t share needles,” and most people can ignore the second admonition since they don’t shoot heroin anyway.
Well, yeah. Stocking rural black churches with AIDS-prevention posters showing buff naked white guys with fabulous hair likely wouldn’t resonate (as they say in marketing) with the intended audience.
HIV/AIDS has assumed a new face in
. It is younger and more rural, more likely to be black or female. Georgia
And it is harder to reach with prevention messages, testing and services.
Old messages geared to urban, white, gay men simply don’t resonate with many African-American and rural people, advocates say.
But that’s not what the story’s about. It mostly focuses on the stigma that keeps people who already have HIV reluctant to say anything about it. Which is indeed a problem, but one entirely different from “How to prevent people getting the disease in the first place.”
To talk about that you must make frequent use of the word “condom,” which unfortunately appears in this story only twice, in a little throwaway clause:
[Georgia AIDS Coalition President] Teahan said reaching young people in schools has been difficult since so much sex education in
is abstinence centered. Georgia
“No one can use the word condom now,” she said.
But Bruce Cook, whose
Atlantacompany Choosing the Best provides abstinence-centered education materials to schools, said such instruction can be effective in leading young people to make the right decisions. Georgia
“The only way you eliminate risk is abstinence,” Cook said. “Condoms do break and they do slip off.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is confusing the issue (or missing the obvious) by marveling over the success differential between “messages that appeal to white urban gays” and the failing programs in rural