Vaccination = Sterilization

Posted: November 15, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

In Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg‘s work on the history of vaccination misconceptions in Cameroon she utilizes as part of her major argument a specific situation in 1990 of girls hiding and jumping out of windows for fear of being made sterile. This misconception was derived from a long history of rumors and social stigma surrounding the health and medical sphere.

Much like any region there are always common misconceptions that, surprisingly, spread like wild-fire just by media and word of mouth. Living in the United States our obesity rates have produced massive and ridiculous amounts of diet plans–most of which are completely reliant on misconception. It is impossible to watch the nightly news without finding out something else that you were told to eat last week for your bones is now correlated with cancer in joints.

But the most startling point is that we, as humans and cross-culturally, tend to trust one another even if evidence is not evident.  We know that Doctor’s wear white lab coats from watching TV shows and seeing ads, we know they are highly educated and generally invested much of their time, money, and resources into their education…so when we see a good looking clean man in a white lab coat with a pen in his hand and perhaps a stylish pair of reading glasses it is common misconception to listen up to what he has to say…after all, he’s a doctor, right?

Have time? check out the US’ relationship with Cameroon.

Point being made, we see this misconception surrounding health care among adolescents in the Philippines who are becoming sexually active and their complete misconception for their chances of contracting AIDS. Generally, the misconception is that AIDS/HIV is uncommon, or that youth are less likely to have it as they are assumed to have less sexual partners than that of someone older with let’s say 30 years of experiences. This is completely inaccurate but very popular.

Click the condoms to find out more on the HIV epidemic in the Philippines.

As stated within another WordPress Bloggers post in regards to the misconceptions of AIDS/HIV among youth in the Philippines:

“Healthcare authorities attempt to correct these misconceptions by saying that (a) one cannot get HIV by kissing a person with HIV or being kissed in parts of the body, (b) a person with HIV should not be avoided or discriminated against because the disease is not contagious, and (c) HIV knows no age, educational background, social standing or gender of a person.”

Feldman-Savelsberg, Pamela. (2000) “Sterilizing Vaccines or the Politics of the Womb: Retrospective Study of a Rumor in Cameroon.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Volume 14, Issue 2, pages 159–179, June 2000


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