The English Guardian has an article on the decision of a Kenyan court to amend a law that criminalizes certain instances of HIV transmission, potentially including transmission from mother to child. But the author misses the true injustice of the law, which is one of many instances of woman bashing and victim blaming that the HIV industry and the media have made their staple fare.
The true injustice is that many women in African countries are infected with HIV through non-sexual routes, probably through unsafe healthcare, but also possibly through unsafe cosmetic and traditional practices that involve skin piercing. These infections are avoidable: women need to be told that they face such risks, that HIV is not just a sexually transmitted virus, that it is not even predominantly sexually transmitted.
As long as the media continues to spew out the misogynistic rubbish they receive from UNAIDS and the HIV industry’s PR machinery about HIV almost always being transmitted through unsafe heterosexual sex in African countries (but not elsewhere), countries like Kenya will pass unjust laws like this one.
The media also loves rubbish about ‘deliberate’ transmission of HIV, ‘revenge’ transmission, anything extreme, which they depict as normal for Africa. The level of anti-African bigotry to be found in the media is on a par with the kinds of antisemitism that was commonplace in many countries before the second world war.
Of course, extreme levels of misogyny are reserved for African women. In the US, a woman has received a 20 year prison sentence for having an abortion. So state sponsored violence against women doesn’t even raise an eyebrow in the US either? But the difference is that the English Guardian recognizes the injustice in this case, but not in cases of HIV in women in African countries.
Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a wonderful technology, and has probably saved many lives and averted numerous infections. But what about averting infections in the women first? This would be the best strategy for averting infections in infants.
It is of vital importance for women to know what HIV risks they face, so that they can take measures to protect themselves. The Guardian’s humbug conclusion that “The law also puts women at risk of violence or rejection by their husbands because it allows doctors to disclose the status of patients to their next of kin” needs to be rewritten.
It is the HIV industry and institutions like UNAIDS that insist that women’s biggest risk for infection with the virus, even their only risk, is unsafe sex. Many African women have just one sexual partner, and that person is HIV negative. Many HIV positive women were infected late in their pregnancy, even just after giving birth.
It is unpardonable to insist that all HIV positive mothers must have had sexual intercourse with someone other than their partner. This is what puts the women at risk of stigmatization, violence and rejection, as well as at risk of being infected with HIV, and infecting their fetus or infant.
This kind of victim blaming is a clear instance of violence against women, yet it is promulgated by the very parties who claim to be protecting the rights of women: UNAIDS, WHO, various academic instutions and the enormous, top-heavy HIV industry that they and others constitute. And the media tag along, like poodles doing tricks for the odd pat on the head.
The quote “If we want to reduce the spread of HIV and Aids and put an end to the stigma, violence and discrimination surrounding the disease, our public policies must be based on medical evidence and grounded in human rights” would be spot on if it added that the view that HIV is almost always transmitted through heterosexual sex in African countries is most certainly not based on medical evidence, or any other kind of evidence.