A.I.D.S. is on the rise. With no cure on the horizon and very limited access to programs and medication, Mexico is facing a crisis.
There are different views as to why Mexico is seeing such an increase in HIV positive cases. For the famed Mexican photographer, Maya Goded, the increase is due to immigration. Her new exhibit, THE LINE, documents the direct correlation between the two. Immigration is ripping families apart. The exhibit is to bring awareness not only to the lonliness and pain caused by this seperation, but also to the increased use of drugs and casual sex as means for immigrants to escape the pain.
In my belief, Maya might have a valid point to some extent. Central americans immigrate to Mexico looking for a better life and means to support a family they have been forced to leave behind. Mexicans immigrate, legally and illegally to the United States in search of the same golden opportunities, and both countries have shown a notable increase in Hispanic H.I.V. positive cases.
In Mexico, the prevailance of HIV/AIDS in immigrants is 0.6%, compared to the national percentage is 0.3%. According to the Kayser Family Foundation research, Hispanics make up 14% of the United States population, but 22% of the most recently documented HIV and AIDS cases in the country are within the Hispanic population.
Unfortunately, the numbers still don’t add up. We are facing a situation where we have two major obstacles in our country before we can even begin to combat A.I.D.S.
The first obstacle is IGNORANCE. Mexico is very devout in its Christian beliefs and unfortunatly still feels it taboo to discuss sex, including safe sex, to its children. Both parents and our government feel it unnecessary and immoral to include sex education in the academic curriculum. If sex education cannot be taught at school and the parents refuse to do it, who do we have left, who can spread the word and lend a hand in making our teens aware of the real dangers of unprotected sex? Sex isn’t the same as it was 30 years ago, in this day and age, sex education should be considered MANDATORY for every child. It literally could mean the difference between life and death.
Our second obstacle, STUPIDITY, is probably going to be tougher to tackle than the first. Not to be confused with ignorance and the lack of knowledge, stupidity is having the knowledge and throwing it to the wind. Data shows the age group most affected by the HIV virus is 25-49. Of the cases documented in this age group, more than half come from the middle class and above in economic status. Regarding of ones socioeconomic status, I think by this age, somehow and somewhere, everyone has heard of A.I.D.S., how it is transmitted and how to prevent it. Unfortunately many, whether consciously or subconsciously, choose to believe they are “above” the virus and untouchable.
Our government states its hands are tied. It can’t implement education without the approval of the parents. It can’t advocate prevention without approval of the Church. Last but not least the government definitely cannot raise the overwhelming funds needed to purchase sufficiant anti-viral drugs to offer H.I.V. infected citizens.
Our Catholic Church entered the battle against this deadly virus with a multi-million dollar plan and has promised to print pamphlets promoting abstinance and fidelity. That’s really taking the bull by the horns! While I am personally all for abstinance and fidelty, they somehow don’t seem to be high on the list of priorities for our God fearing country.
It is very obvious education and prevention our out our grasps. Maybe if stupidity were a crime, the parents and citizens “above” the virus could be criminally tried by our mighty government. The government after seeking salvation for the damnation of its people could be prosecuted by the Church and God. Finally, our Church with it’s millions to offer, could be found guilty by the ill themselves and forced to act as the sole financer in the ongoing treatment of every infected citizen who was never granted the knowledge of education and prevention.