I just saw a commercial that was supposed to be helpful, but somehow I found it disturbing. In the commercial, person after person got on a microphone and said “You are not alone.” The commercial was to advocate the help that exists for those that are HIV positive and it ended with a Web site, www.healthywithHIV.com, and a phone number urging those who are HIV positive to call a 1-800 number for support.
The commercial was shown on Logo, a channel dedicated to programming for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered people. This is important to consider before you read my issue with this commercial.
Every person that was featured in this commercial was a homosexual man. All, but one of the men, were White. Though this commercial was aired on a channel catering to their demographic, I was appalled at the lack of sensitivity the organization showed towards the homosexual community.
Once HIV/AIDS was officially given a name and symptoms were discovered, the world dubbed it the Gay, White man’s disease because many of the people diagnosed fell into that category. Homosexual men, whether infected or not, were looked down upon and seen as solely responsible for bringing this epidemic to the United States. The stereotype lingered until straight men and woman starting turning up with the disease.
But commercials like these further perpetuate the previous myth. Having several homosexual men lend their face to HIV support, ostracizes a greater part of the United States afflicted with the virus. In 2009, the United States was ranked sixth in the world for HIV/AIDS cases at 1.2 million, tied with Uganda and Zimbabwe. This number included adults, men and women, and children.
There are reports all the time about the growing number of HIV/AIDS cases amongst heterosexual Black women. And too often we forget about the children that have been diagnosed with this disease as well. I am all for showing support to those who need it, but Logo should be more responsible with what they allow on their airwaves.
YPAqua, Young Professionals Guest Writer