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July 9

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

AIDS a Growing Danger to Women in 2000


QUOTES by Dr. Dorothy Blake and Mark Schoofs.

AIDS a Growing Danger to Women in 2000

In the 1980s the AIDS epidemic was claiming few female victims.
      That has changed dramatically and now half of all new AIDS African victims are women and the number of women being infected in the U.S. is rising rapidly - and they are heterosexual being infected being infected by heterosexual men.
      HIV-AIDS infection of women in the U.S.A. is now the greatest life-threatening risk for women under 30, and the numbers are accelerating rapidly and wives in their 50s are being infected by philandering husbands. The Black and Hispanic communities are particularly hard hit.

Transmission to women is heterosexual with the lesbian community remaining almost AIDS free except for drug users. Women are ten times as likely to be infected through vaginal intercourse than a man.
      The various agencies and organizations which fund AIDS/HIV research have been notoriously lax in pressing for treatment of women who appear to get sicker faster and die quicker than men. Drugs that are effective against men often do not work for women.
      One of the ways AmFar decided to fight the spread of AIDS in South America was to denigrate women and warn young men of their dangers (using a crude machismo term about women). That stopped when some feminists (the WOAH compiler for one, complained loud and long).
      While most cases of AIDS can be stilted in men through drug use, researchers admit that they do not understand the more complex spread of AIDS in women.

The greatest deterrent against the spread of AIDS to women in the Third World Countries would be the empowerment of women to enable them to refuse sex or demand that men use condoms. However, such empowerment is opposed by the macho societies and religions. In equatorial Africa where an entire generation of people is being killed off by AIDS, men are treated and sent to hospitals. Most women are thrown out of their homes and refused hospital care because they have no money.

The 2000 Pulitzer Prize in journalism was won by Mark Schoofs writing about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, http://www.villagevoice.com/specials/africa/:

"As the death toll from AIDS recedes in America, Africa is reeling from an epidemic of Biblical proportions. South of the Sahara, AIDS is worse than anywhere else in the world, and this catastrophe is transforming the continent forever... "

In Part 5 of the Series, "AIDS and the Second Sex", Schoofs writes:

"[From Harare, Zimbabwe and Nigeri Village, Kenya] Sipewe Mhakeni used herbs from the Mugugudhu tree. After grinding the stem and leaf, she would mix just a pinch of the sand-colored powder with water, wrap it in a bit of nylon stocking, and insert it into her vagina for 10 to 15 minutes.
      "The herbs swell the soft tissues of the vagina, make it hot, and dry it out. That made sex 'very painful,' says Mhakeni. But, she adds, 'Our African husbands enjoy sex with a dry vagina.'

"Many women concur that dry sex, as this practice is called, hurts. Yet it is common throughout southern Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is worse than anywhere in the world.
      "Researchers conducting a study in Zimbabwe, where Mhakeni lives, had trouble finding a control group of women who did not engage in some form of the practice. Some women dry out their vaginas with mutendo wegudo soil with baboon urine that they obtain from traditional healers, while others use detergents, salt, cotton, or shredded newspaper.
      "Research shows that dry sex causes vaginal lacerations and suppresses the vagina's natural bacteria, both of which increase the likelihood of HIV infection. And some AIDS workers believe the extra friction makes condoms tear more easily.

"Dry sex is not the only way African women subordinate their sexual safety to men's pleasure. In a few cultures, a woman's vagina is kept tight by sewing it almost shut. But in most African societies, the methods are subtler: Girls are socialized to yield sexual decision-making to men. Prisca Mhlolo is in charge of counseling at The Centre, a large organization for HIV-positive Zimbabweans. 'You're not even allowed to say, 'Can we have sex?' she notes. 'So it's very hard to bring up condoms.' "

Schoofs marvelous research is not pleasant to read but your life may depend on it - THERE ARE NO DRUGS THAT TREAT AIDS/HIV IN WOMEN ANYWHERE NEAR THOSE THAT HAVE REDUCED THE AIDS SCARE FOR MEN IN THE U.S.

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B. 07-09-1764, Ann Radcliffe - British author of tales of terror and suspense. She is considered the creator of the gothic tale, a style imitated by many authors including Edgar Allan Poe.

B. 07-09-1811, Sara Payson Willis Parton, better known as Fanny Fern, whose first collection of witticisms sold 80,000 copies. SP was one of the first woman newspaper columnist in the world.

B. 07-09-1842, Clara Louise Kellogg was a pioneer in early attempts at presenting operas in English. She had a distinguished operatic singing career and was the first native American who became an international prima donna.

Dorothy Thompsonright, Dorothy Thompson

B. 07-09-1894, Dorothy Thompson - influential U.S. newspaper columnist. Expelled from Germany for her virulent anti-Nazi stand when she was a U.S. reporter, she lectured widely against Hitler on her return to the U.S.
      She headed her paper's Berlin office 1925-1934. Her newspaper column On the Record was one of the most popular in the nation (1936-1958).

B. 07-09-1900, Carmen Polo de Franco - Spanish political wife was the force behind many of the religious and social rules imposed on Spain during the regime of her husband Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain 1939-1975.
      Her name is almost never mentioned in historical accounts of the era but during Franco's lifetime she was attacked repeatedly as an instigator of many of the dictator's excesses.

B. 07-09-1901, Barbara Cartland - English author of almost 400 romance novels. She preferred to write of the 19th century for she found it "difficult to create convincing virgins in modern dress." BC has sold more than 450 million books and still counting.

B. 07-09-1905, Ania Dorfmann - Russian pianist who gave her first concert at age 11 in her native Odessa before studying in Paris. She left Russia at the time of the Soviet Revolution and lived and performed in France before moving to the United States in 1936.
      She became the first woman pianist to perform solo under the baton of Arturo Toscanni.

B. 07-09-1906, Elisabeth Lutyens - British composer with an international reputation during her lifetime but has been ignored since her death - a very common occurrence with women composers. She wrote operas, concertos, choral, and piano music for the concert hall as well as for stage and screen.

B. 07-09-1909, Isobel Ida Bennett - noted Australian marine biologist, only the second woman to received the ANZAAAS Mueller Medal (1982). She authored a number of books and articles on South Pacific Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

B. 07-09-1926, Mathilde Krim - founder of AmFar, the preeminent AIDS organization in 1980 that has raised more than $50 million for AIDS research and education. She was one of the first to recognize the dangers of AIDS worldwide - in 1980 when most health authorities were unaware of anything called AIDS - and then had the courage to do something about it, using $100,000 of her own funds.
      She served as head of a lab at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and was a noted medical researcher and health educator.

B. 07-09-1931, Sylvia Bacon - U.S. judge, District of Columbia Superior Court, Washington 1970-92.

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      "Information must target women in their given cultural settings and in a language that they can understand. Information must be generated by and among women -- networking is very important for empowerment of women themselves...
      "Education for skills training needs to be given, targeting, especially, young women on how to negotiate for safer sex, how to negotiate for economic autonomy."
            -- Dr. Dorothy Blake of the World Health Organization. The Jamaican physician says that in many developing countries, HIV-positive men are cared for by their families, but HIV-positive women are not, often thrown into the streets by relatives in the male- dominated family structure.

      " 'For women,' says Caroline Maposhere of Zimbabwe's Women and AIDS Support Network, 'there is no sexuality, only fertility.' "

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