Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: Journalist addresses AIDS in South Africa
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2011-12-21

This article shared 2851 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Leading South African journalist Jonny Steinberg spoke at Northwestern University Dec. 1 as part of the school's World AIDS Day programming.

With several books under his belt and a teaching position at Oxford University, the former Rhodes scholar has emerged as a prominent voice on the AIDS pandemic. South Africa has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world.

During the hour-long presentation, Steinberg shared stories from Lusikisiki, a rural South African village where he's spent years reporting. He focused on the somewhat surprising ways antiretroviral therapies have altered South African society.

"What people make of treatment when it arrives plays such a large role in shaping what it comes to mean," Steinberg said. "And what it comes to mean plays a role in determining who wants it and who doesn't want it, who comes to get it and who doesn't."

As little as a decade ago, Steinberg said, most South Africans had never even heard of treatments. Now, 1.6 million people use the lifesaving medications.

Young women have been significantly quicker to adopt antiretrovirals than older males, the traditional patriarchs in South African villages. Women account for about 53 percent of HIV-positive individuals, but as many as 70 percent of those on treatment are female.

Steinberg said reactions to new technology are always highly gendered. In this particular case, women are more comfortable with healthcare since they frequently access it for family and childbearing concerns.

"Many men only come forward when they're desperately ill," he said.

It's common for women to form female-led support groups. Members share medical knowledge, and many have even gone on to enroll in healthcare-related diploma classes or seek work in the state government.

"Being HIV-positive has become a source of a career," Steinberg said, "and not just any career, but one with middle-class trappings, one that will elevate many women considerably, taking her away from her village and into a city or town, and most important, free her once and for all from all the men's gifts."

Trading sex for money or gifts is a common practice for many poor women, and the situation has gotten worse as the economy's crashed. Female villagers see support groups as a source of independence, and many males feel isolated from the matriarchal assemblies.

"Antiretroviral therapy has created a feminized path of upward mobility," Steinberg said. "And women want to keep this path a feminine one. They don't welcome male competition; if they share it, they may lose it."

Despite shifting social dynamics, Steinberg is hopeful that more South Africans will adopt antiretroviral therapies in the future. The country has already begun advocating preventative measures such as male circumcision and early treatment.

Still, stigma poses a threat.

"Shame is unbelievably corrosive," Steinberg said. "When shame gets hold of a person, you'd rather die than be alive, than be exposed. You stay at home, and your body literally rots when there's treatment a mile away. … People choose to die … because they're gripped by shame."

Associate Professor Doug Foster, who facilitated a Q&A session with Steinberg, said media is partly to blame. He remembered first learning about AIDS while living in San Francisco in the 1980s.

"You didn't hear about this disease from the media. You heard about it word-of-mouth," Foster said. "It would've mattered tremendously to tell people in very straightforward terms: semen, blood, vaginal fluid, infected needles … instead of [ using vague terms like ] 'bodily fluids.'"

When the media did report on AIDS, Foster said, it mischaracterized the disease.

"Larry Kramer and other activists were the first to raise the possibility that what was being reported as a marginal story with a marginalized population could potentially kick into something much bigger," Foster said.

Thirty years later, an estimated 60 million have been infected, and 30 million have died.

Foster praised Steinberg for reporting on the disease with incredible depth and understanding as many around him ignored it, citing 'AIDS fatigue' and diminished newspaper sales.

University President Morton Schapiro voiced hope that other journalists and activists would continue to focus on HIV.

"What worries me about this 'AIDS is losing' and 'AIDS-free generation' [ talk ] is that it really belies the facts," Schapiro said. "The fact is: AIDS is everywhere. In certain parts of the world, it's even growing. If there's anything that worries me about all this successive celebration, it's that we might get complacent. As soon as we get complacent, the nightmare of AIDS … is going to return."

Steinberg spoke in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. His 2008 novel Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic was named one of The Washington Post's Best Books of 2008.

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.


This article shared 2851 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Pritzker administration announces highly effective HIV treatment coming to Illinois in 2023 2022-12-02
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today on World AIDS Day that a new, long-acting HIV treatment called Cabenuva will become available to thousands of ...


Gay News

World AIDS Day: GLAAD releases 2022 State of HIV Stigma Study 2022-12-01
-- From a press release - (New York, NY - December 1, 2022) GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing its third annual State of HIV Stigma ...


Gay News

Peppermint barks while Broadway bangs, and all the other dish to start the week 2022-11-28
- "I love Broadway. I love what they do—Broadway Cares, but I also want to say the show is extraordinary!" —Nicole Kidman's impromptu speech after bidding $100K to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for Hugh Jackman's hat after ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal challenges anti-HIV military policy 2022-11-13
- Lambda Legal filed a legal challenge to the U.S. military policy that prevents people living with HIV from enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, according to a press release. The current policy requires that applicants for ...


Gay News

National AIDS Memorial names 2022-2023 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship recipients 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO, California, Nov. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National AIDS Memorial has announced its 2022/2023 Pedro Zamora Young Leaders scholars, its largest and most diverse class ever, providing ...


Gay News

Sheryl Lee Ralph producing HIV/AIDS documentary 2022-10-29
- Recent Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph has signed on to produce Unexpected, a documentary short about women of color living with HIV in the South, Variety reported. Directed by Zeberiah Newman, the film will chronicle Masonia ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH Podcast sheds light on forgotten murders of gay men in Montreal 2022-10-22
- When people ask about or Google the murders of gay men in Montreal in the '90s, it all leads to the podcast "The Village: The Montreal Murders." LGBTQ+-rights advocates encouraged me to listen to the podcast. ...


Gay News

ViiV announces recipients of largest U.S. fund for HIV prevention in Black women 2022-10-10
- ViiV Healthcare announced the recipients of an $8-million investment to increase awareness and action around HIV prevention and care for Black women, according to a press release via CSR Wire. Funding will support community programs focused ...


Gay News

CDPH report: New HIV, AIDS diagnoses at lowest points since the 1980s; other STIs rise 2022-10-06
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — The number of Chicagoans newly diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in 2020 was at the lowest level in four decades, according to a comprehensive new HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) report from the ...


Gay News

AIDS Run & Walk raises approximately $500K 2022-10-06
- Nearly 2,400 advocates, community partners, runners, walkers, volunteers, staff members and more gathered at Soldier Field on Oct. 2 for the 31st annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. The event raised approximately $500,000 (although online fundraising ...


Gay News

Art Institute revises Gonzales-Torres placard to include HIV-related details 2022-10-04
- Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has revised the label accompanying the Felix Gonzalez-Torres' installation "Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)" to reinstate references both to Gonzalez-Torres' partner Ross Laycock and ...


Gay News

31st annual AIDS Run & Walk, with the theme 'Forward Together,' returns this weekend 2022-09-30
- The 31st annual AIDS Run & Walk returns to Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 2, in order to raise awareness about the disease and funds for the organizations that help people impacted by HIV/AIDS across the city. ...


Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago holding Women's Connection Summit of Hope on Oct. 6 2022-09-27
-- From a press release - AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) is hosting a Women Connection Summit of Hope in partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to address the needs of cis and transgender women who have been recently released from ...


Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago hosts two-day event about unique challenges facing elders living with HIV/AIDS 2022-09-24
- AIDS Foundation Chicago hosted a two-part educational webinar about the complex needs of elders living with HIV/AIDS Sept. 22-23, where experts discussed how to better serve patients through healthcare, policies ...


Gay News

National AIDS Memorial releases 'The Black Community & AIDS' 2022-09-23
- The National AIDS Memorial has released its latest mini-documentary, "The Black Community & AIDS," the seventh film in its oral history project. "The Black Community & AIDS" chronicles the personal stories of nearly two dozen survivors ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.