In South Africa, Denial Is a Form of Protection

AIDS Unawareness: In South Africa, Denial Is a Form of Protection
The New York Times
November 28, 2004
By ROGER COHEN

GUGULETU, South Africa – This is a poor and dust-blown place where love and trust kill.

The young woman asks her suitor to use a condom. He says she doesn’t trust him. She insists that he respect her request. He argues that if she loved him, she would not suspect him of sleeping around. She explains that it’s not a question of love but survival. He cajoles her: trust me, love me, all will be well.

All is not well in this township of wood and corrugated-iron shacks near Cape Town, where the incidence
of H.I.V. infection and AIDS continues to rise, particularly among women, as it does all across sub-Saharan
Africa. Awareness of the disease and the availability of treatment are growing, but, as Dr. Liesl Page-Shipp, an
AIDS expert, put it: “I don’t think we yet have a handle on changing people’s sexual behavior. So as a nation, we are in serious trouble.”

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