Influences and Perceptions


            Utica is ultimately two territories, the poverty stricken side and the upper middle class. Attending school in the upper middle class society, I was forced to hear and believe that there was nothing but drugs on the other side of town. As for New York State as a whole, the association of gangs and drugs, shaded the entire state.


Sources of influences                                      


            One of the major influences of my view of HIV/AIDS cases came from health education in high school. I went to Thomas R. Proctor Senior High School. HIV/Aids were not presented in a life threatening way. New York education law allows each local board of education to decide which approach to take. As a student I was informed of what HIV/AIDS was, how to prevent catching the disease, and how to treat it.

            Another influence came from the 1993 movie, “Philadelphia.” This was a very big movie in aspects of attacking the subject of Aids. Only 8 years after Aids epidemic was made greatly public, and seemingly only affected the homosexual population. The movie led to me to the stigma that only gay men contact the disease. Table 2 shows that in Oneida County the biggest percent of risk is in the homosexual population.

            Commercials BET and articles in Ebony magazine have narrowed HIV and Aids to infected mostly African-American men and women. Every hour on BET I would see about 5 “wrap-it up” commercials, encouraging African Americans to be safe. According to articles African-American women blame “down-low” brothers for introducing the disease to race. In New York, table 3 supports the idea portrayed by both media groups.