Culture and Its Tie to HIV/AIDS

 Written by La-Kenia Green, TDN BOLD Initiative intern. April 14, 2014

Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people. It is defined by language, religion, social habits, music and arts. My cultural upbringing has been influenced greatly by the teachings of my parents and the music I listen to. However, it is not the same for everyone. That’s why not everybody is affected the same way by the greatest disease of mankind, HIV/AIDS, in different areas of the world.

People across the world have different religions, which is one of the major factors that play a role in health. You may follow beliefs that either enforce celibacy or may be against contraceptives. In the Western hemisphere, contraceptives are widely accepted in opposition to the majority of Eastern countries’ culture.

Another factor is your socio-economic status, and it has been shown that this may affect who can get HIV/AIDS or even treat it. Individuals grew up in social classes, and sometimes we cannot seem to find a way to reach the top. Therefore, those who cannot afford healthcare or educate themselves are incapable of avoiding such diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Entertainment is one of the causes less thought about on how it elicits HIV/AIDS-related risk behaviors. Movies, videos, music, dance and art have put into our minds many times that it is acceptable to have sex with many people, and sex-ed classes are not being promoted nearly enough. In order to fit into society’s norms, we follow what we see others do instead of making a well thought decision of our own. If your friends say it’s okay to have sex with someone you don’t really know, you would probably do it because you never heard of the risks that are hidden behind this action. Before you know it, you have contracted HIV/AIDS.

Your cultural upbringings can either impact your life in a positive way or a negative way. Within it all, everyone makes mistakes, but hopefully not the ones that cannot be reversed. Whether you are influenced by religion or music, your role is to pick out the positive of it and mold your culture into something better.

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