Hiv/aids Portrayal in Precious

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Hiv/aids Portrayal in Precious

HIV/AIDS Portrayal in Precious

Joy Chang

BLG 599

November 19, 2017


There are many myths surrounding HIV/AIDS, from transmission to the “death sentence” to stigma such as a homosexual’s or drug addict’s disease. This paper will investigate the real science of HIV/AIDS and how it is portrayed in the film “Precious”, focusing on transmission and current treatment. The paper will also evaluate the social impact of the myths and the real science behind HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS exploded in the 1980s, mainly known as the homosexual disease, people were cruel in treatment to those who are and those who may be infected. People believed that even from sitting in the same toilet seat would get them infected by the “gay disease” (Avert, 2017). The stigma and myths carried into the 21st centaury, despite countless researches and studies being done and the advancement in medicine, the society seemed to stop at the 1980s-1990s. Many still think that contact with sweat or urine, kissing or hugging can transmit HIV/AIDS virus. As well as many still use HIV and AIDS interchangeably, not recognizing there is a difference. Thus, it is still important and relevant to advocate and answer the myths and stand for those who are HIV positive.


HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency virus, it is a kind of virus that targets the immune system of the body. The virus attacks CD4 cells, they are also known as T-helper cells and they are one of the types of white blood cells in the body. The virus makes copies of themselves in CD4 cell, spreading themselves in the body undetected by other white blood cells. HIV destroys more and more of the CD4 cells and causing the immune system to be compromised (Avert, 2017). Many of those who are HIV positive who did not receive treatment often become so weak that they cannot fight off harmless infections. Since they hide in body’s immune system, there has not have a cure for HIV. Transmission of HIV/AIDS is still one of the biggest myths in the society. HIV virus is found in semen and pre-seminal fluid, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and in breast milk. The fluids then must either enter the blood stream by injection, be in contact with an open wound, or be in contact with mucous membrane that are found in rectum, vagina, penis and mouth (CDC, 2017). In other words, HIV can only be transmitted through specific activities or incidents. Hugging, kissing, or even insect bites would not be able to transmit the virus. According to CDC (2017), in United States, the most common ways of transmission are unprotected sex and sharing needles. Less common ways are mother to child transmission and being struck with needle with HIV, this usually concerns the health care workers. Much less commonly spread is by oral sex, contact between wounds and membrane with HIV-infected blood, and open mouth kissing that both happen to have open sores, bleeding gums.