Don’t bow

Public health warning (sic)

On the same day I saw this graffito, the Jamaica Gleaner’s front page headline had yelled “End AIDS testing!

“The world is turned upside down,” I thought to myself. On closer reading, it appeared that the Jamaican National AIDS Commission was protesting employers imposing AIDS testing on new employees. In the bangarang that followed, the well-intentioned seemed to overlook some frightening facts:

1. The Caribbean is the second most HIV/AIDS affected region in the world.
2. Of the estimated 25,000 people infected in Jamaica, 60% do not know they are infected.

Judging from the graffiti going around at the moment, it would seem that public health education professionals are going to have an uphill struggle.

Next to the graffito above was a helpful clarification of what not to do.

Don't bow

About a mile and a half further up the road, the man realized that he needed to make a further clarification.

Suck hood

Joking aside, the consequences of such ignorance are all around us.

I am HIV

When I asked to take her picture, I suggested that I wouldn’t photograph her face. “Nah man,” she replied. “P’haps udda people learn from my mistakes.”

When I showed her the picture, she smiled sadly: “Bwoy, dat a huggly face!”

For those unfamiliar with the terms, or who didn’t guess from the context, “bow” means cunnilingus, and “hood” means penis.

Oral sex for men = GOOD
Oral sex for women = BAD

9 thoughts on “Don’t bow”

  1. Compulsory testing is a whole big bag of wriggling worms. I’m against it, personally, because if employers are enforcing tests, they’re also enforcing disclosure of the results, which is an infringement of the employee’s right to privacy. However, I think tests should be offered to all potential employees, schoolchildren, hospital patients etc., with the right to keep the results private should they so wish. I think alot of people need encouragement and support to get tested, and afterwards. Knowing that they might not get a job, as well as discovering that they are HIV+ isn’t going to help anyone, and I also wonder what kind of support employers would offer to potential employees that are HIV+ after their diagnosis? Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now. Great photos.

  2. That’s the discussion I feel is missing in Jamaica, Rachie. Many people at risk (or already infected) are unaware of their rights and the (potential) consequences. Despite the shocking crime statistics, Jamaica is a highly moralistic country: not only is homosexuality heavily stigmatized, but also the public acceptance of casual sex — all the more surprising when you see the dry humping that passes for dancing!

    HIV/AIDS here is still a dirty little secret and many people in a position to change that prefer to close their eyes to reality and talk of declining moral standards and indiscipline (example). In a recent letter about testing, I noted that the accompanying photo had nothing to do with Jamaica: it showed a US Senator setting an example for testing, in Kenya.

    The UNAIDS country profile for Jamaica is revealing in what it conceals: The country progress indicators, for example, contain almost no data.

  3. Pingback: I am HIV

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