Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 H.I.V. be Positive ... You're Negative

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has been making some major moves these past few weeks.  Just earlier this month FDA approved the first over-the-counter H.I.V. test.  If you have been tested for H.I.V. in the last decade, you are familiar with rapid testing.  With this method you swab the inside of your mouth, and you get test results within 20 minutes.  Similar to an at home pregnancy test, a negative test result does not necessarily put you 100% in the clear. You could possibly test to early to yield a positive result.  Also, just like an at home pregnancy test, a positive result should prompt you to make an immediate doctor appointment for more accurate results.

The FDA also just approved the first pill to prevent the spread of H.I.V.  The drug Truvada was used in a study, in which those who took the pill once everyday reduce their risk of infection by 70%.  The use of this drug is not meant to take the place of condoms or other preventative care.  This drug is more so for those individuals who are involved with partners/parents that are HIV positive.*

In the U.S. alone there are 50,000 new cases of H.I.V. every year.  One in Five people infected with H.I.V. do not know they are infected.  The U.S. is a leader of the First World, highly developed, but still suffers from this epidemic. So, lets not forget to consider those citizens of Third World countries that are also fighting the same epidemic.  For these facts alone, I am excited about the new breaks in HIV research.  But, for my audience (youth and young adults with daily access to social media) I am scared.  

I hate to be one of little faith ... but with the new epidemic of teen pregnancy and the commonality of children out of wedlock, how can I optimistically believe that more people than not would make their partners submit to an on site HIV test, when we feel "awkward" asking them to use a condom?  I cant stress enough, the fact that this new in home test and the approval of these new drugs should NOT be your only method for safe sex.  Just because you test negative for HIV, won't mean you're negative of all other sexually transmitted diseases.  Just because you take a pill everyday, doesn't mean you can't pass on some other life threatening disease.  Can you picture our generation getting on board with the at home H.I.V. test, or would it be considered "doing to much"?  Should the use of the test and/or pills prompt you to disregard the use of condoms?  Should having this test in your bathroom cabinet be your hall pass to bring just anyone home to your bed?

I think these developments are good strides in the race for the cure of H.I.V.  Knowing your status is a great way to prevent spread of the disease and therefore lower the number of new cases of H.I.V. each year.  I think these developments can be a good thing, if we consider them to be extra tools to ensure our health and the health of those we are dealing with.  We have to be smart and we have to remain safe.  Take all the necessary precautions to be POSITIVE that you're NEGATIVE.

*The statements in this blog are based purely on my own personal understanding of articles from several different media outlets.  You are always encouraged to do your own reading and generate your own point of view.  My writing point of view is purposely created to generate critical thinking and discussion.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Your New Role Models (Not Mine)

Definition of Role Model - A person looked to by others as an example to be imitated.

I am trying to figure out if the author of this featured article used the term "Role Model" for "lack of a better term" or if he/she was really serious about the women on this cover being Role Models.  The cover consist of  Kandi (Real Housewives of Atlanta), Tamar Braxton (The Braxtons) Evelyn (Basketball Wives) and Chrissy (Love & HipHop).  All of these ladies are now stars of reality tv.  Two (Kandi & Tamar) have known success before reality television became a hit.

Now, I am not saying I hate these women and they should not be liked.  I am saying however, the term "new role models" scares me.  To be a role model, means someone aspires to be just like you.  As the proud aunt of two little girls, a God sister to an impressionable teenager, and a cousin and confidant to several younger women, I do not want these ladies to be who they aspire to be.  Although, Kandi & Tamar had fame and success before reality tv, their current claim to fame is Reality television.

The bad thing about reality television is that more people than not, take it for more than what it is suppose to be, ENTERTAINMENT!  There may not be a script (although after watching Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, I think there may be) but a lot of the incidents and feelings that transpire on the camera were created for your entertainment.  The more drama, the more television time (just ask Sheree, Jennifer, and Royce, all of whom were recently let go from their shows).  The women may do good things on the show (charity, awareness, etc.) but that is not why viewers tune in.  Drama is what drives reality television.  Therefore, in order to be a big part of reality television (enough to keep your job on the show) you must also be driven by drama.

If you think that is a stretch, listen to any interview these women ever do (or read this article), and they will say, "People only see a snippet of our true lives" or "People think they know us from the show" or "I want to show people who I really am".  So, if all we see or most of what we see and know about these women come from their television shows (drama), what about their situations makes them someone we should imitate?

Like Andre 3000 said "Someone like you, more like someone unlike you".

Not saying everyone is perfect, but role model, in this situation, is a STRETCH .... Whose to blame, the writer of this article, reality television watchers, ourselves???  Amy I overreacting?  What was your reaction when you saw this cover?