Adinulos Week 4

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Annika G. Dinulos


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To further explore questions on HIV from journal club, and to analyze and critiques of HIV myths and conspiracies.

Journal Club Question

What, if any, are some distinct characteristics of the subjects that may change the diversity or divergence of HIV progression? Do the progressor groups have an impact on the results, and could they be refined? Has important data from the subjects been excluded (like subject 15) or not analyzed?

Global AIDS: Myths and Facts

Myth 1: Aids and Africa

  • The prevalence of the AIDS epidemic in Africa is largely impacted by European and North American policies.
  • One-third of all people living with AIDS live in countries classified by the world Bank and IMF as heavily indebted.
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia are seeing a rapid rise of infections, with diagnoses rates almost doubling each year since 1998.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, rates of diagnoses and infection are higher than every region except for Africa; China and India have populations of people living with HIV/AIDS of over 2 million each.
  • Haiti has an extremely high percentage of individuals of HIV, and is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It has been heavily impacted by foreign policies, increasing the factors that allow for disease transmission.
  • When looking at Cuba, another relatively poor country, the difference is extreme. Because of efforts to prioritize health care and education, Cuba's HIV prevalence was 0.03%. Cuba was also proactive in education, AIDS research and offering some antiretrovirals for free to HIV positive people.
  • The United States, despite the success of reducing AIDS mortality largely in 1998, has not seen a decrease in AIDS mortality from mid-'98 onward. Instead mortality and prevalence rates are increasing.
  • HIV/AIDS in the United States is impacting people of color and people of lower-income heavily in the new rise.
  • There is no distinct characteristic of Africa that caused the AIDS crisis, rather the factors of diagnosis were the result of interference of other world powers.
  • Just because some countries are considered to have a "low prevalence" of HIV does not mean that large populations of people are suffering, or that the country will remain that way. The world needs to take action, and stop considering current HIV/AIDS as only an African problem.

Myth 2: Dangerous Behavior

  • AIDS was heavily associated with promiscuous activity.
  • Media and journalists continued to assign this and other stereotypes to HIV/AIDS diagnoses, which completely overshadows factors like economic insecurity and racial inequality.
  • Poverty and other social factors are restricting the ability for people to make "sound" choices about sexual practice or substance abuse.
  • A study of 25 HIV-positive and 25 uninfected women showed that sexual history, or the number of sexual partners, was not the divisive characteristic between the groups. It was noted that the profession of their partners was the risk factor that differentiated them. Women with partners who were truck drivers or soldiers were more likely to be HIV-positive. Women less financially stable often sought out partners with those professions to become more financially stable.
  • In times of economic stress, it becomes less important to prioritize protection during sexual activity.
  • Additionally, limited access to education and discrimination further limits job opportunities for some, which could lead people into professions or situations where contracting HIV is more likely.
  • Some parts of the world show that AIDS is linked with domestic violence and sexual violence in the case of women. Domestic violence is often accompanied with sexual violence and in those cases, protected sexual activity is most likely not possible.
  • Labor migration data shows that in cases of loneliness and separation, casual sex may be an option. Additionally, some men may hire women to perform domestic tasks -- or take on another wife in polygamous socities-- which poses a risk for transmission of HIV.
  • Times of war often include moving large populations of people around the world, and it could also involve a high incidence of rape, which also increase the risk for disease transmission.
  • Outreach needs to promote female empowerment, safe sex education and eliminate the idea that HIV is only linked to promiscuity.


The assignment this week served to think deeper about the questions we were posing for the journal club article, and my partner and I decided to focus on data that may have been omitted and might be important. Additionally, deeper analysis was done on the myths behind AIDS, specifically, the localization of AIDS in Africa and dangerous behavior.


  • I conversed with my partner Christina Dominguez on our question to the journal club article.
  • The myths and information presented here come from Global AIDS: Myths and Facts: Tools for fighting the AIDS Pandemic.
  • I followed the protocol on the Week 4 page for this lab entry.


Irwin, A., Millen, J., & Fallows, D. (2003). ‘’Global Aids: myths and facts: tools for fighting the Aids pandemic’’. Cambridge (Mass.): South End Press.

OpenWetWare. (2020). BIOL368/S20:Week 2. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from