Monday, February 28, 2005

Miss HIV Pageant?

Well at least it's Botswana and not Hollywood but...

GABORONE (Reuters) - There is a catwalk banquet, hordes of journalists, traditional dancing and time-consuming hair styling -- but at Botswana's beauty pageant every competitor must be HIV positive.

What is up with that? I thought the idea of a beauty pageant (depending on your attitudes) was to showcase beautiful, talented women and give them an opportunity to win a scholarship. Instead this pageant celebrates women who are dying from HIV, and I doubt they got it from a blood transfusion. Well, here's their rationale.

The government is using its mineral wealth to provide life prolonging anti-retroviral drugs -- but many do not know their HIV status or are unwilling to come forward for treatment. Organizers say the pageant aims to tackle that stigma.

Hey, I got a goofy idea! Why not try to attack the CAUSE of the problem, namely unprotected pomiscuous sex! Rather than just dumping more and more money into helping the victims, why not try to prevent the creation of more victims. HIV is a horrible disease, but it is relatively easy to avoid as well. By educating these people and providing the means, they could go a long way in reducing the new cases of HIV.