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WOMEN'S GLOBAL NETWORK FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS NEWSLETTER. 1991 Jul-Sep; (36):60.A dilemma exists over who should care for, and where to place 4 delinquent female runaways with AIDS. These girls have also engaged in prostitution, crime, and are addicted to drugs, thus prompting society to view them more as dangerous adults than aberrant adolescents. While they are presently in the hands of the National Institute for Minors (Iname), organizations in Uruguay are ill-equipped to face such challenges presently by these and other HIV+\AIDS adolescents. Discussion of the issue and society's views is suggested. The views of a few civil servants from Iname are briefly presented in the text. They generally disagree with incarceration of such youths, and recommend there placement in a semi-open environment supported by specially trained doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses. Ideally, a home-like setting is preferred where these young women and others in similar situations may undergo treatment while carrying on with their lives.
TEC NETWORKS. 1991 Sep; (30):1, 8-9.The author expresses concern over the lack of legislative interest in and support for reducing and rate and incidence of pregnancy and childbearing in the adolescent and teenage population. While experts and professionals have some of the answers needed to reduce these rates, often misinformed, ill-advised, and ignorant policymakers provide neither cooperation nor support for effective changes. Policymakers who have pledged to address the needs and social conditions of this age group, yet have failed to deliver once elected, should be removed from office. Those few who do support the interests of youths need help in the form of citizen advocacy and leadership. The reader is called upon to remain informed and abreast of local, state, and federal legislation regarding the needs of at-risk, pregnant, and parenting adolescents. Policymakers must, in turn, be educated about social factors directly contributing to the continued prevalence and incidence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Systemic change, institutions, laws, and policies are required to better meet the needs of youths. Reasons for the decreased incidence of teen childbearing over the period 1970-88 include a decrease in the size of the adolescent population since 1988, increased use of contraception, and more abortions. In closing the Title X family planning program recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is discussed. In view of Title X's crucial and unique role in providing services to low-income women and adolescents, the reader is urged to rally in support of its reauthorization.
HEALTH FOR THE MILLIONS. 1991 Aug; 17(4):20-3.Until recently, the only sustained AIDS activity in India has been alarmist media attention complemented by occasional messages calling for comfort and dignity. Public perception of the AIDS epidemic in India has been effectively shaped by mass media. Press reports have, however, bolstered awareness of the problem among literate elements of urban populations. In the absence of sustained guidance in the campaign against AIDS, responsibility has fallen to voluntary health activists who have become catalysts for community awareness and participation. This voluntary initiative, in effect, seems to be the only immediate avenue for constructive public action, and signals the gradual development of an AIDS network in India. Proceedings from a seminar in Ahmedabad are discussed, and include plans for an information and education program targeting sex workers, health and communication programs for 150 commercial blood donors and their agents, surveillance and awareness programs for safer blood and blood products, and dialogue with the business community and trade unions. Despite the lack of coordination among volunteers and activists, every major city in India now has an AIDS group. A controversial bill on AIDS has ben circulating through government ministries and committees since mid-1989, a national AIDS committee exists with the Secretary of Health as its director, and a 3-year medium-term national plan exists for the reduction of AIDS and HIV infection and morbidity. UNICEF programs target mothers and children for AIDS awareness, and blood testing facilities are expected to be expanded. The article considers the present chaos effectively productive in forcing the Indian population to face up to previously taboo issued of sexuality, sex education, and sexually transmitted disease.
The cultural meaning of AIDS and condoms for stable heterosexual relations in Africa: recent evidence from the local print media.
[Unpublished] 1989 Mar. Paper presented at the Seminar on Population Policy in Subsaharan Africa: Drawing on International Experience, sponsored by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), Committee on Population and Policy, with the collaboration of Departement de Demographie de l'Universite de Kinshasa, Commission Nationale de la Population du Zaire (CONAPO), Secretariat au Plan du Zaire, held at the Hotel Okapi, Kinshasa, Zaire, 27 February to 2 March 1989. 27 p.This paper draws on the authors previous research experience in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and articles in local newspapers and journals from Central, Eastern and Western Africa. To research the AIDS epidemic in terms of: 1) problems for fertility that condoms pose 2) the association of condoms with promiscuity 3) economic pressures that induce women to contract lovers and men to enter polygamous relationships 4) the importance of fertility and 5) the association of AIDS with promiscuity. There is great concern for the uninfected children of parents who die of AIDS. Women are generally being blamed for spreading the HIV virus to their partners and being promiscuous making all her children suspicious as products of illicit unions. The father and his kin often repudiate these offspring. Questions are raised as to where these children will go and, what is the economic and social effect of their geographical mobility? Young women, school girls in particular, now comprise one of the groups at high risk for contracting the HIV virus because private schools expose girls to older, wealthier, married men. Parents may begin growing reluctant to send their daughters to school to avoid the AIDS virus, while encouraging them to marry early, leading to higher fertility rates and low interest in contraception. Yet secondary schools are the best arenas to introduce condoms and AIDS education because the girls are highly motivated. The use of condoms in Africa is controversial because they prevent fertility and suggest promiscuity. 2 major philosophies are common among health manpower: 1) minimizing the demographic impact of AIDS in light of continued high fertility rates, or 2) emphasizing the crisis brought on by death and destruction. Government efforts to publicize the AIDS epidemic and the utility of condoms as a prophylactic are doing the greatest service to women and society by providing them with credible elements of ambiguity and deniability.
Social Science and Medicine. 1989; 29(4):545-53.This article addresses the high incidence of AIDS in Puerto Rico (PR). Reasons include the high incidence of homosexuality and drug usage on the island, and the high rates of return migration and tourism between New York and PR. Since there is very little material on AIDS in PR, much of the data on the public's knowledge and awareness of the disease has been taken from the daily press. All copies of the 5 major daily newspapers were reviewed from January 1981 to the present. 1981 was the 1st year that AIDS was accepted as a disease, the year the 1st medical articles appeared describing it, and the year it was named. Nearly all information regarding the AIDS epidemic in PR has been turned into major controversies: the incidence of the disease (actual cases), testing for it, funding of AIDS research and patient care, methods of preventing the disease (education), the use of condoms, methods of contacting the disease and how infection can be avoided, and protection of prisoners. The victims of AIDS: the homosexuals, drug addicts, and hemophiliacs were left out of the controversies as participants. The controversies were nonmedical and nonscientific, suggesting that the public perceived insufficient interest on the part of medical and political leaders and was expropriating the problem. AIDS was seen as more of a political question than a medical one, with politicians turning the controversies into debates. It can be concluded that unless a strong apolitical socially organized assault is mounted on AIDS by the people, a society such as PR will have difficulty surviving the epidemic.
Hastings Center Report. 1986 Feb; 16(1):33-42.The prochoice movement in its most political manifestation is particularly vulnerable to recent medical and scientific developments. It has never made sufficient room in its public stance for a serious consideration of the fetus. Simultaneously, by deliberately cultivating a supposedly neutral, therapeutic language toward the medical act of abortion, calling it a "procedure," a "termination of pregnancy," and so on, it mistakenly seems to think it can pacify and comfort the conscience, minimizing and denaturing some unmistakeable realities. Medical and scientific developments which threaten the prochoice movement include the lowering age of viability, the emergence of neonatal medicine, the use of the sonogram, embryological knowledge, and late abortions. In attempting to understand the possible impact of the medical developments on the abortion debate, their interaction with other crucial ingredients in the debate will be important. Of special significance are public opinion, the question of the personhood of the fetus, pertinent court decisions and trends, and feminist arguments and political tactics. There is still time for prochoice adherents to show themselves as willing in practice as in theory to concede the moral uncertainty of abortion decisions. If that is not done, the combination of the new medical developments and too many people for too long holding their doubts at bay may well begin shifting opinions. In that event, the prochoice movement will have done itself far more damage than those who try to stop it by bombing abortion clinics.