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Women At Risk for HIV-AIDS by Sexism in Media, Down-Low Effect, Global Gag Rule Say Commentators at On The Issues Magazine


Men on the “down low” go to extreme lengths to deceive the women they marry about their sexual encounters with other men because of self-hatred and denial, a practice that puts women at risk for HIV, writes Natalie Bell in “The Down Low Effect,” an essay at On The Issues Magazine Online.

In addition, women are kept in the dark by media gender-blindness, most recently in articles in New York Magazine and The Independent in Britain, writes Mary Lou Greenberg in “Media Missteps + Misogyny = Death for Women.” While women are being engulfed by galloping HIV rates, making HIV-AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 24-35, New York Magazine failed to find a single woman to interview for its article “Who Still Dies of AIDS, And Why.” The Independent said that heterosexual transmission is no longer a problem, even though it is the main cause of infection for women.

These and other ignored topics on HIV-AIDS and sexism are in a unique feature, “The Café” at On The Issues Magazine, an online publication. Writers, thinkers and artists are invited to continually pour their commentary and ideas into the mix of feminist and progressive discussions about hot-boiler topics. The current edition of On The Issues Magazine focuses on HIV-AIDS, with the title “Blowback Strikes Women Hard.”

Other highlights in The Café at On the Issues Magazine Online warn that Congress is trying to extend the anti-abortion Global Gag Rule to international HIV-AIDS funding, which will affect much-needed integrated care for women by walling off assistance at family planning clinics. In “Global Gage Rule Poses Moral Challenge for U.S. HIV/AIDS Funding,” Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice blows the whistle on this ideological burden, coming at a time that women suffer 62 percent of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

Visual artist Larry Schulte writes about the importance of art to AIDS activism, and Lisa Vives of the Global Information Network describes the tragic case of a British woman with AIDS who is being deported. Cindy Cooper reports that women are under-utilizing an important online resource, and Nicole Itano sees new possibilities with a change of guard at UN AIDS.

This vital mix of information, commentary and dialogue adds to content exposing misogyny in silencing and ignoring women as HIV-AIDS becomes increasingly devastating to them. Recalling that she first printed an AIDS alert in 1983 when On The Issues Magazine was a print publication, Merle Hoffman, publisher and editor-in-chief, notes, “Now we need more than an alert. We need a planetary alarm for the women of the world.”

On The Issues Magazine revived as an Online magazine in spring 2008 to respond to the need for passionate and thoughtful feminist voices. The full archives of the print publication (1983-1999) with writers such as Kate Millet, Charlotte Bunch and Alice Walker are available at the site. Individuals may subscribe at no cost. Feminist leader Gloria Steinem said, “I’m so glad that On The Issues Magazine is back.”


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