HIV/ AIDS and globalization

I walk in to one of the famous modern looking colleges in Sri Lanka. We have only a handful, and the one I’m talking about is pretty famous for American degrees. However, generally we tend to see students from the wealthiest families in town coming in and out of this building. I had a class on HIV/AIDS and globalization for a group of 21 students who think they are the signifiers of modernity or probably Americanization.

I started the lesson asking what they have heard about HIV/AIDS. One of the students replied “a decease”. Further explaining I admitted it as a global decease of which infected rates are comparatively high in poor countries that particularly lack developed health systems. Roughly 40,000 Americans are infected every year. In 2007, UNAIDS estimated more than 1.3 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, 33.2 million people worldwide (with 2.5 million newly infected), 22.5 million people in Sub Saharan Africa, 4.0 million in South and South East Asia, 1.6 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are HIV positive or have AIDS.

My methodology of teaching is through questioning; therefore I posed my second question from the class. What is HIV and AIDS? What does it mean? Surprisingly none of those ‘posh’ looking students knew about it. Hmmm!! Ok! Two years back when we were conducting HIV sensitizing workshops for young people all around the country prior to the 8th ICAAP young people in Vavuniya, a conflict effected area knew what it meant. They didn’t have access to internet, they didn’t travel all around the world for semester breaks or most of them wouldn’t have sat for GCE Ordinary Level. Yet, they knew ie. I finally had to explain. Here I go! AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is an incurable disease that destroys the patient’s immune system. AIDS is caused by infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids. People can become infected by HIV through sexual contact, by using needles that are contaminated with the virus, or by coming into contact with infected blood. The immune system of a person infected by HIV becomes weaker over time, and the person is less able to fight off infections; this process can take months or years. The final stage of HIV is the development of AIDS. As their immune systems collapse, people with AIDS become increasingly vulnerable to infection by a variety of life-threatening diseases.

You can find more articles on HIV and AIDS, like “a global epidemic”, “be yourself, but know your risk; HIV is deadly”, “HIV doesn’t kill people, but people does – based on a true story”, “Is AIDS a poor people’s disease?”, etc.

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1 Response to “HIV/ AIDS and globalization”


  1. 1 Milinda June 11, 2009 at 12:24

    Another unseen reality !


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