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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 11/23/2012 09:58 AM

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“Epidemics do not just happen. They are not random events. They have histories. Histories always depend on how they are told, by whom and for what reason” (Barnett and Whiteside, 71). It may be true that history becomes arbitrary in representation, but it is not linear and universal. It is not the same for all. And, though the events leading up to an epidemic may not be random, they are certainly not uniform in every region. An approach that packages and ships the same solution(s)—as was the case with the one exported from Geneva to Africa, Asia and Latin America—is not only the result of faulty a priori thinking, but also doomed to fail (B&W, 79). A priori thought suggests knowledge and reasoning are innate rather than the product of experience. Such a stance argues that we will all, fundamentally, draw the same conclusions when presented with a problem and solution. It is also a view that would propose that since behavior modification and the greater availability of anti-retroviral drugs seemed to contain the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Europe and the United States, it would, or at least should, do the same in other regions of the world as well, but since “epidemics have their deepest foundations in ‘normal’ social and economic life…because pathways of infection are mapped onto social, cultural and economic relations,” this must necessarily not be the case (B&W, 71). These relationships are the derivatives of varied experiences. Behavioral modification and anti-retroviral drugs are, by necessity, the surest answers to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but to utilize them as tools in the manner that they have been used in Europe and the US and to disregard the obstacles of each new context—we will discuss those of Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia—is to render them futile.

When informed by an a apriori attitude, behavior modification cannot be implemented efficiently because it assumes universal rationale and, in doing so, that the parameters surrounding the choices that...