# HIV HEROES

VANGARDIST

24

is that after overcoming our doomsday

fears, recent years have seen the return

of a certain tabooing trend in AIDSrelated

matters. Some reasons behind

this may be from ignorance, because

we think HIV is no longer relevant, or

may be from the fact that we’ve gotten

used to it and look to something more

spectacular and new like Ebola to be

scared of. The main reason, however,

still is that it’s a disease we’ve never actually

felt comfortable talking about.

5,000 years of patriarchy

It might be asking a bit much to expect

a radical change in social structures

within just a few decades, but

one thing is certain: The stigmatization

of HIV/AIDS predominantly has to

do with sexual morals, which explains

why it’s still such a taboo topic. Consequently,

both this illness and the question

of how we should deal with it have

the power to shake society to its very

foundations. This may sound like nothing

more than a casually made claim,

but in this case you better believe it:

When we say “foundations” we really

mean foundations. Because even

though the established order has often

taken quite an existential battering as

a result of the 20th century’s major new

occurrences like industrialization, capitalism,

liberalism and the sexual revolution,

it would still be an illusion to think

that we have managed to overcome

5,000 years of patriarchy in just a few

decades. As patriarchy is at the core

of all conservative concepts of society,

the sexual morals that come with it are

the ultimate condition for its existence.

Bible, Shakespeare,

Game of Thrones

How come though? Male rule is far

from being a law of nature. Quite the

opposite actually. It’s dependent on

cleverly devised cultural techniques

and, more than anything, on fairly strict

regulations of what’s sexually permitted

and what becomes ostracized. And

this has one very simple reason: For a

long time in our civilization’s history it

was basically impossible to deliver safe

proof of paternity, which, in a society

based on the hereditary transmission of

power, status, wealth and identity from

a male to his male heir, is absolutely essential.

Anyone who’s ever read the Bible

or Shakespeare, or watched Game

of Thrones, knows the implications that

being born a bastard used to have.

While the mother was nearly always

easy to identify, our sperm donor could

be any random bloke; the only way to

ensure some certainty on these matters

was the implementation of strict

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