chapter  6
16 Pages

Women with AIDS: Sexual Ethics in an Epidemic

As the num ber o f AIDS cases in the U nited States approaches 30,000, the th rea t o f AIDS to the public health becomes m ore om inous.1 Concern with fighting the spread o f AIDS has been shaped by a notion o f “public health” en tangled in social biases. For instance, “public health” has been historically skewed tow ard heterosexuality, as indicated by the initial slow responses to the hom osexual and bisexual m en first diagnosed with AIDS. T he concept o f “public health” in relation to the AIDS epidemic, however, has initially been biased m ore tow ard gay men, exhibiting a gender bias against women as well. T h a t women too are afflicted with AIDS is rarely m entioned. Many people are not even aware that women can be infected with AIDS, and very few know that women with AIDS are not a recent phenom enon, bu t ra ther, that women have been afflicted with AIDS since the very beginning o f the epi­ demic.