as I read the literature [related to AIDS] I tend to have the feeling that
I'm not learning anything new anymore." ..."I think we have largely
failed... Prevention efforts have enjoyed limited success - behaviors have
changed to some degree in some places, but no thanks to our research nor
to that of other social scientists" (Bolton,
1995: 287, 289).
I would claim with confidence that behavior change slowed down, or stopped
the moment social scientists and health educators stepped into the picture
and started applying inappropriate models in their attempts to manipulate
sexuality... Recommendations emanating from the prevention research industry
have not only not helped, they have been counterproductive and dangerous.
We need to sweep aside most of the work done on prevention and start afresh"
we learn that individuals with low self-esteem (the root of all evils in
the world, along with greed) are more likely to engage in unsafe sex than
are those with high self-esteem; will this knowledge help us construct
prevention programs? Are we really naive enough to think that we can remedy
self-esteem problems while trying to promote safe sex?" (Bolton,
have focused almost exclusively on the dangers of sex, thereby contributing
to the right-wing, erotophobic agenda. So we hear a great deal about sex
as murder and now as suicide. To be sure, sexual risk-taking as suicide
is a real phenomenon... Where is the joy of sex? We have become part of
the machinery for turning sex into a dangerous despicable activity"
sought the "magic bullet" for AIDS prevention by seeking useless information.
We also failed with respect to "culturally sensitive prevention message."
Plus: "Still worse, [the existings models] serve to fuel the metaphors
of failure and blame that characterize the representation of those who
have contracted this disease, a fact that can only exacerbate the suffering
they experience from it" (Clatts,
should fire the health educators; nay, I'd go further to suggest that we
round most of them up and put them on a Neuremberg-like trial for their
complicity in promoting genocidal prevention messages such as reduce your
number of partners, get tested, and know your partner. Those who have promoted
sex-negative, fear-mongering approaches to prevention have blood on their