W6 Activity: HIV/AIDs and Homosexuality in the US

Today many individuals within society still have those false notion that spread of HIV/AIDs originated or occurs more frequently with the homosexual community. In short, due to the societal assumptions and media coverage, AIDs can interpreted as a disease affecting a highly promiscuous portion of society, with that portion being the homosexual community! In the past many stipulations and assumptions were made regarding any male with this retrovirus from the 1950’until the late 80’s due to the tremendous misunderstanding of what HIV/AIDS actually was and would become over time. By creating a connection between the initial assumptions of HIV/AIDS and transmission being cause primarily by homosexuals and how this has ultimately created stigmas and prejudice attitudes within society and the gay community we can better understand this issue.

My reasoning for considering this a global health issue is the fact that HIV/AIDs is still a growing epidemic that we have yet to discover a cure for and the fact that we could potentially place the blame onto one group is ridiculous. I believe cultural influence has been a primary contributor to this way of thinking. Although the intentions of the medical professionals was ultimately to find the source and stop the disease, the biased assumptions created an on-going battle of discrimination for the already heavily stereotyped infected communities. As well as contributing to a stigma of its own within the gay community. The study conducted by Kowalewski (1988) suggests that a double stigma has been created within the homosexual community between person with AIDS (PWAs) and “normal” gays. This study also shows that a similar interpretation of AIDS has influenced gay men’s perceptions of the illness and PWAs just as it has with the non-homosexual community, creating another stigma of an already stigmatized gay stereotype.

Kowalewski, M. R. “DOUBLE STIGMA AND BOUNDARY MAINTENANCE: How Gay Men Deal with AIDS.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 1988, 211-28.

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