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2 years ago

# HIV HEROES

24 is that after

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