Saturday, March 15, 2014

Anti-HIV Gel Report's Hopscotch Framing

An interesting medical development for women was reported in the NY Times. Scientists published a study that showed a gel having promise as a post-coitus protective shield against HIV in monkeys. The NY Times article was a short blurb. Framing is still interesting because the small report still has to toe NY Times' narrative lines.

1. This gel is only for women. The report never comes out and says it is only a benefit for women, but this is a vaginal gel. The media cannot recognize a boon for women that does not apply to men. Even if forced to mention who benefits, they would probably have the gender redacted, "HIV shield invented >Blank< helped best". War on women.

2. The second paragraph is interesting because of what is unsaid.
If it works in humans, such a gel would be particularly useful in countries where women have little protection against domestic violence or rape, because they could apply it surreptitiously after a partner fell asleep or a clinic could administer it after a rape.

Now that paragraph reveals a lot about HIV-AIDS that the Times will not explicitly state. First, that there is a difference in transmission type frequency around the world. Man to man sexual transmission is still a majority of first world transmission, so this gel is of no help. IV drug users are not helped. Therefore, "particularly useful" in nations where rape is a problem. Domestic violence was thrown in there as what, a signal that a foreign patriarchy exists to oppress women or is it a code phrase for marital rape. The paragraph should have said rape problem and issue of men ignorant they have it, bringing it home. I doubt such an evil, patriarchal household would allow for a woman to surreptitiously hide a gel and apply a gel. Has the NY Times seen the housing stock of third world nations? This will be used as post-rape protection if possible.

3. Any idea what this will cost? This has a 1 in 6 success rate with the monkeys, so it is not a sure thing. People will pay for it, if they are fearful, but it will not carry the 100% mañanacillin premium. Even if this has a $250 per application charge, what third world woman is affording that? This will probably have to be sold and distributed in first world hospitals with a public mandate of requiring application for rape victims. With roughly 90,000 rapes a year in the US, that is a nice baseline for product sales with built in government overbilling. It is probably not enough even if you throw in women who have sex with men they just met that they are nervous about an hour later but not when he inserted. If successful, this product will become part of the western funding of anti-HIV/AIDS initiatives so that sub-Saharan African governments can have distribution networks set up for their many rape victims.

This still will not change much about transmission because behavior will remain the same. Third world rapists gotta rape. Can't mention 1st vs. 3rd world split. Can't be specific about the rape problem in the glorious rainbow nation, South Africa. Can't mention benefits only women. Can't mention gays being a majority of first world infections. Can't ask who will pay for this. The answers hurt the normal narrative. The NY Times has to play hopscotch when they write articles now. Fictional worlds are more complicated to keep straight than reality.

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