Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fungi and HIV/AIDS Talk

There was a morning review session for micro, but I decided not to go. I just don't feel like I get as much out of the seminars in comparison to reading the material myself, and it's not like I don't have enough reading to do without needing extra classroom sessions. Actually, this has been the first week where I've more or less been keeping up with all the reading. I have no Masters class, no FCM class, no portfolio, no other outside things to do at all besides the readings for school. I did go to the regular seminar at 10:00, which was about fungi. I don't think that microbiology is the kind of thing that you can really learn much about from a lecture though.

After class, the HIV/AIDS Interest Group had a speaker from Oberlin. She is a social scientist who studies how the media portrayals of the HIV epidemic and people who are HIV+ affect societal views about whose "fault" it is when people become HIV infected. The particular work she was telling us about is related to men on the "down low," which is kind of loosely defined as men who are heterosexual on the surface but secretly have sexual encounters with other men. The portrayals in the mainstream media tended to look at these men as bisexuals who are secretive or dishonest, and as people who spread disease to innocent heterosexuals, especially women. The portrayals in the black media also focused on increasing the visibility of men on the down low and protecting black women, but there was also more of an examination of the historical mistrust between the black community and the American public health system. It was an interesting talk, and it didn't hurt that that the lunch was catered by Cedarland (a really good Lebanese restaurant on campus) either!

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