Comment Commentary

In my last post, I discussed an article from the New York Times that dealt with the HIV epidemic in the black LGBT community in the Southern United States. My discussion was centered around the article’s claim that rates of HIV in the South are higher than those in all countries, including Africa. My post pointed out that there is most likely severe underreporting of HIV in LGBT communities in Africa due to anti-gay sentiments that will prohibit gay or bisexual men from outing themselves.

This post will look at the comments section of this article. What I found interesting is that there are three sections within the comments section: all comments, reader’s picks, and New York Times picks. I started with the New York Times picks, and there were two NYT picks on this article.

The first of the NYT picks was from a college professor from Massachusetts. She teaches a college course on the politics and history of HIV/AIDS. The commenter makes an excellent point about sex education in the United States. Students are told that in order to prevent contracting HIV, they should use a condom. I am like many of these students; I did not know about PrEP until I read this article. However, I got slightly better sex ed and got myself tested for all STDs. The commenter criticizes the US’s sex education system. She makes a scathing comment that if her home state of liberal Massachusetts has poor sex ed, then it’s not surprising that the rest of the country, quite a lot of which teaches abstinence-only sex education, will only fuel the epidemic. The commenter then complemented the author for her “compelling article, bringing so many of the strands of the current epidemic together” and putting them in context.

The next comment was from a middle-aged gay white man with HIV. He talks about how the support from his family and his liberal surroundings made his recovery much easier. He discusses how he did not appreciate his support until he did outreach in the black LGBT community.

The next section was on reader’s picks. The first comment I saw was from a medical practitioner that described the multi-pill regimen that HIV patients take. Patients take many pills, and in the past this would have many side effects. On a more personal note: when someone in my family got cancer (and chemo), I saw the effect that taking multiple pills takes on someone. This person has lost his short-term memory, which is pretty heartbreaking (though it is fun to tell him good news multiple times). After seeing this, I can totally see why someone with AIDS would want to avoid taking a multi-pill regimen.

I honestly learned more from the comments than I did from the article. The comments were shorter and more to-the-point, and discuss the meat of the article rather than the anecdotal frills.

However, the comments section is not available on all articles. There were some articles I wanted to comment on, namely one about OSHA cutbacks, but the comments section was unavailable.

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