Apr 17, 2009

Carnal Nation


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Masturbation Ad From Botswana

One of the problems facing education about HIV/AIDS and other STIs in the United States is that most agencies seem to work under the assumption that the ideal way to talk about sexually-transmitted disease is not to talk about sex. To the extent that United States health campaigns do acknowledge sexuality, it's usually to emphasize that it's something you really shouldn't do.

That is why it's so fascinating to see something like the ad below, from Botswana, where approximately 23% of the adult population is HIV-positive, a rate that's second only to Swaziland. We found it via P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula. A much larger version is here. We can't really provide any context for it, or how typical it is of sex-education efforts in Botswana, but just as the reality of AIDS on that scale is unimaginable to us, so is a response this frank and realistic.  As Myers points out, we still remember what happened to Jocelyn Elders when she dared to mention masturbation. Picture after the cut.