Miss HIV 2005

stubeeef

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I really don't know what to say or how to take this, but know others here will help me out. :confused:

Beauty Pageant to Choose Miss HIV

GABORONE (Reuters) - There is a catwalk banquet, hordes of journalists, traditional dancing and time-consuming hair styling -- but at Botswana's beauty pageant every competitor must be HIV (news - web sites) positive.

At a palm tree-studded resort and conference center in the capital Gaborone, 12 girls are competing this weekend for the title "Miss HIV Stigma Free."

"We are saying here we are, we are HIV positive and it doesn't mean it's the end of the line," 33 year old reigning Miss HIV Kgalalelo Ntsepe told Reuters in her cluttered one room cottage, where she displays trophies of her win in 2003.

Largest global diamond producer Botswana has one of the highest HIV rates in the world with an estimated third of the population infected.

The government is using its mineral wealth to provide life prolonging anti-retroviral drugs -- but many do not know their HIV status or are unwilling to come forward for treatment. Organizers say the pageant aims to tackle that stigma.

"After I started the medicine, I became stronger and stronger," said Ntsepe, who was diagnosed in 2001.

"We are trying to say there is life with this medication. Some don't believe I'm HIV positive because I'm so healthy," she said.

AIDS (news - web sites) groups welcome the pageant, which is sponsored by British bank Barclays. "It may just be a pageant, but it is important because it brings together people with HIV who are open about their status," said Brad Ryder, spokesman for the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Programme.

"They need support, they need to come out and get acceptance for their condition."
 

miloblithe

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Nov 14, 2003
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I don't know why you're so confused. The generative idea is pretty much summed up in paragraph 4:

"Botswana has one of the highest HIV rates in the world with an estimated third of the population infected."
 
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pulsewidth947

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Jan 25, 2005
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I think its a nice way to try and give back some dignity to ladies with HIV. It doesnt seem like its trying to be facetious or snide..

That said, i've got something against pageants in that i think they are morally and socially wrong. Too much emphasis on beauty - and beauty is a personal thing, whats beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to others. blah blah blah :)
 
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stubeeef

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miloblithe said:
I don't know why you're so confused. The generative idea is pretty much summed up in paragraph 4:

"Botswana has one of the highest HIV rates in the world with an estimated third of the population infected."
I see the side that says HIV is not the end of the line, but it seems confusing to put HIV and Pagent together. Is it something somewhat glorifing a horrible thing? One that can be mostly prevented (many people get it from blood transfusions, etc..) by careful choices. Should little girls want to grow up and be Miss HIV? On the other hand, it will inspire some who have their hopes dashed with this diagnosis.
I guess parading in gowns and tiera's kinda puts a different light on what I think they are trying to do. Hence the confusion.
 
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angelneo

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To be eligible for the contest, you must be HIV positive? How is that supposed to help the stigma when they are segregating those with HIV? The stigma comes because people view them as different. Wouldn't this make the situation worse?
 
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apple2991

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stubeeef said:
I see the side that says HIV is not the end of the line, but it seems confusing to put HIV and Pagent together. Is it something somewhat glorifing a horrible thing? One that can be mostly prevented (many people get it from blood transfusions, etc..) by careful choices. Should little girls want to grow up and be Miss HIV? On the other hand, it will inspire some who have their hopes dashed with this diagnosis.
I guess parading in gowns and tiera's kinda puts a different light on what I think they are trying to do. Hence the confusion.
I think you're more right with the idea of hope after diagnosis. The country seems to really just be trying to send out the message that having HIV isn't something to hide, and it isn't something to be ashamed of. It doesn't invalidate you as a person. The best United States analogy I can think of on a Monday morning are perhaps the special or disabled olympics. You might say "What's the point of someone with one leg trying to ski?", but at the end of the day, that person feels better about themselves, and more people see those with handicaps differently. And, most importantly, giving hope to others who are disabled and feel like there is no hope.

Hope that makes sense. It's a little too early to start thinking, just yet :rolleyes:
 
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stubeeef

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apple2991 said:
I think you're more right with the idea of hope after diagnosis. The country seems to really just be trying to send out the message that having HIV isn't something to hide, and it isn't something to be ashamed of. It doesn't invalidate you as a person. The best United States analogy I can think of on a Monday morning are perhaps the special or disabled olympics. You might say "What's the point of someone with one leg trying to ski?", but at the end of the day, that person feels better about themselves, and more people see those with handicaps differently. And, most importantly, giving hope to others who are disabled and feel like there is no hope.

Hope that makes sense. It's a little too early to start thinking, just yet :rolleyes:

Thanks, yes I like the special olympics analogy, this is "enabling" I guess for some.
 
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stubeeef

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angelneo said:
To be eligible for the contest, you must be HIV positive? How is that supposed to help the stigma when they are segregating those with HIV? The stigma comes because people view them as different. Wouldn't this make the situation worse?
There seem to be some confusing things about Pagent and HIV to me, but: different cultures and all.
 
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angelneo

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stubeeef said:
There seem to be some confusing things about Pagent and HIV to me, but: different cultures and all.
I would feel better if they do not place a restriction on the HIV criteria to signify that they can do the same things as normal people. But it may end up like a normal pageant as those with HIV might avoid participating.
Since AIDS groups applaud this move so maybe it couldn't be that bad after all.
 
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rainman::|:|

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WHEN an unthinkably huge amount of your population is infected, and WHEN even your government won't reliably admit that HIV even exists, you'll do pretty weird things to put a "face" on the average HIV+ citizen. This is a great attempt at that. Of course, a beauty pagent isn't going to solve anything, but at least they're thinking of new ideas and trying.
 
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miloblithe

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I just think you have to keep in mind that analogies to American situations are not very useful. You have to try to imagine what it is like when 33% of the population is infected. You're not dealing with a disease "that can be mostly prevented by careful choices" any more. This reality is made all the more complicated by not openly discussing it and actively dealing with it. Relegating the issue to "choice" isn't going to do anything because there aren't enough choices. One in every three people is infected!!

Beauty pagents are indeed silly and in most ways anti-progressive. But think about it this way: it's got us talking about AIDS in Botswana _here_.
 
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vouder17

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stubeeef said:
I see the side that says HIV is not the end of the line, but it seems confusing to put HIV and Pagent together. Is it something somewhat glorifing a horrible thing? One that can be mostly prevented (many people get it from blood transfusions, etc..) by careful choices. Should little girls want to grow up and be Miss HIV? On the other hand, it will inspire some who have their hopes dashed with this diagnosis.
I guess parading in gowns and tiera's kinda puts a different light on what I think they are trying to do. Hence the confusion.
To most of these people HIV is the end of the line. I lived in Swaziland where also about a third of the population was infected and almost every single one of tese people could not get anti-retroviral drugs for free....or atleast for affordable prices. People there would have an avergae life span of about 6-10 years after infection..it varied, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.
I think the main reason why you confused is because..well you cannot even begin to think how big of a deal HIV/AIDS is in that part of the world. I am shocked how little emphasize is put on it here in Europe.
In most cases People get it through sex...blood transfusions as method of infection is very very rare.
i see this pageant as a way to get out the message as many people don't understand this disease... If someone hears about this pageant then they might take action.

Well i hope i cleared up a bit of the confusion for you.
Peace
DjVoTeZ
 
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Chip NoVaMac

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Dec 25, 2003
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paulwhannel said:
WHEN an unthinkably huge amount of your population is infected, and WHEN even your government won't reliably admit that HIV even exists, you'll do pretty weird things to put a "face" on the average HIV+ citizen. This is a great attempt at that. Of course, a beauty pagent isn't going to solve anything, but at least they're thinking of new ideas and trying.
So right on with your comments. Hopefully they will attempt to use the pageant as a talking point about what things people can do to stop the spread of HIV, short of the "simple" solution of abstinence. Abstinence sure is the easiest way to stop the spread, but it does not address the cultural, societal, and mental health issues as to why people engage in risky behavior.

Time for all of us to put aside our prejudices and personal moral standards, and try to better understand that some issues can not, and will not be addressed by the codes that we subscribe to that we hold to be so "right".
 
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stubeeef

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While I understand that HIV is mostly transfered by sexual contact, I included blood transfusions just so no one thought that I was being narrow in my understanding of this virus. I am not an expert, don't pretend to be, but when I mentioned choices above, they include the use of condoms, not just abstenance.
I am hopeful that there are many publicity events on PREVENTION as well as coping........I guess that, more than any other is my surprise.
 
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Chip NoVaMac

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stubeeef said:
While I understand that HIV is mostly transfered by sexual contact, I included blood transfusions just so no one thought that I was being narrow in my understanding of this virus. I am not an expert, don't pretend to be, but when I mentioned choices above, they include the use of condoms, not just abstenance.
I am hopeful that there are many publicity events on PREVENTION as well as coping........I guess that, more than any other is my surprise.
stubeef, I never thought that you were in anyway narrow minded about HIV. And I fully understand your concern that a Miss HIV pageant may not send the right message. But you and I assume can not speak directly of the social, political, and economic issues in Botswana that has lead to a third of the population being exposed to HIV.

Here in the US, HIV prevention has gotten a boost of sorts when celebrities have come out with their status. As soon as the media gets past issues like homosexuality, drug abuse, and multiple sex partners.

I believe that we each has a moral code that guides us. Sometimes that code goes against our own beliefs and moral codes of right and wrong. Sometimes that code defies most attempts of meaningful understanding by even the most open minded among us.

My comments to Paul's post was an acknowledgment of comments that we have shared in other threads. Not to try and take this thread off to the Political Forum; but it bothers me when we cut HIV/AIDS funding for prevention. That some fight the readily availability of condoms, and try to cut funding for that. But yet at the same time we increase spending for abstinence programs.

Hope that some will understand that I agree that abstinence is the best way to stop the spread of HIV and other STDs. But it can not and should not be the end all "cure" to stop the spread. For people will have unprotected sex. For people will engage is risky behavior; whether sex or drugs. And some of that behavior goes beyond just that persons moral code. For the HIV problem, like so many other issues facing our Nation and the world, and are also based on social, economic, and health issues (both physical and mental). The sooner we put our biases aside, the sooner we can do some good on some many issues that confront us as a people of the world.

I dare say that also means in regards to HIV a better acceptance by the "left" of abstinence programs, both secular and non-secular. And by the "right", that their morals and beliefs can not be forced on others. And both sides need to be prepared to pay the financial burden to address the true reasons behind some of the ills of our Nation and the world.
 
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wdlove

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Oct 20, 2002
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Improving the self esteem of anyone with HIV is a good thing. It help in terms of them fighting the disease. Although just as award ceremonies, it also seems that there are just too many beauty pageants. The Miss HIV does some actual good just like the Special Olympics.
 
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Chip NoVaMac

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wdlove said:
Improving the self esteem of anyone with HIV is a good thing. It help in terms of them fighting the disease. Although just as award ceremonies, it also seems that there are just too many beauty pageants. The Miss HIV does some actual good just like the Special Olympics.
Too bad we haven't yet heard from anyone from, or with experience with life, in Botswana. Keep in mind, our perception of the word "pageant" is tied to the Western/American view of beauty. There are many pageants that are tied to the the popular conception of beauty. Just as the Special Olympics is not tied to the traditional concept of sports competitions.

What I find surprising in re-looking at the original post, is Botswana's acknowledgment of their countries wealth, and what appears a willingness at their nations ability to pay for HIV treatment. Yet they have a third of their nation infected. Is there something missing, that even some of us "liberals" are missing about stopping the spread and treatment of HIV and the resulting AIDS?
 
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Leareth

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Nov 11, 2004
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Like some else said " it got us talking" and thinking about the problem,
it is a worldwide epidemic and while the western world does not have rates as high as else where they are still higher than they could be.
I think there should be more funding spent on education of people especially youth, they account for 1/4 of all new HIV cases. Why?
In a recent canadian survey of grade nine students more than 50% thought HIV was curable and no big deal anymore.

One more arguable point I would like to make is most of the women who are HIV positive in Africa are so due to forced sexual interactions, whether ouright rape or as a source of income. I seem to recall that in Rwanda there were HIV/AIDS+ prisoners released with the intention of raping and infecting tutsi women , in effect passive genocide.
 
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urban1985_

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Dec 7, 2004
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virividox said:
i dont think its glorifying aids, i think its just celebrating life, and realizing that just cuz you have a terminal disease you dont have to stop living
Exactly. Well put.

We actually studied a certain term in Law 12. I forget it. But it's like this...

If you put up a sign saying you're hiring, but write it only in Chinese, it's discrimination. Conversely, if you're in a minority group, and you start a club to help each other get jobs, it's a positive thing.

I'm not sure I'm explaining it well. But it's like why having Black History Month or different cultural events isn't segregating people, it's celebrating them. It's a positive thing.
 
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