| 2 |
3 | 4 |
5 | 6 |
7 | 8 |
powerful influence is the double standard that says women are supposed
to be ignorant about sex and condemns them as "loose" or immoral
if they take measures to protect themselves against pregnancy or
sexually transmitted diseases. Many of the Latinas getting infected
now are married and monogamous. They have no idea the men they love
and trust have endangered their lives. The notion of the "naive
virgin" is a killer.
research on women who are HIV-negative has demonstrated there are
a lot of ethnic and cultural issues around sexuality," says Wyatt.
"There's a huge lack of information about how HIV can be transmitted.
The perception of susceptibility still has not penetrated to the
inner core of these communities. Particularly uninformed are married
individuals or people in relationships who may not know their partner
or spouse is an IV-drug user or gay or bisexual."
on the front lines of the epidemic are quick to point out, however,
that the virus is attacking women of all backgrounds: college students,
professionals, the wealthy. And because their numbers have been
relatively small, women with HIV have largely been ignored by the
research community. Until a few years ago, they were rarely invited
to participate in clinical trials, the method by which critical
new AIDS therapies are tested and developed.
consequences are evident: Many women are appallingly uninformed
about AIDS and their risk of getting it. "Unfortunately," says Johiro,
"people still think of this as a gay disease."
diagnosis has altered Brenda's life in a way that is impossible
to name. "This is new, something you don't expect," says her stepfather
Mario one morning over the din of a rerun of The Partridge Family
on TV in the tidy apartment he shares with Brenda's mother. "The
good Lord put us here for a test, and we're going through it." A
quiet man of 61 who works as a pressman, he wonders why the HIV
test isn't mandatory. "People don't check it out," he says. "Why
don't they just do it?"