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ylw-text.gif Prostitute Djenne, Mali

Sex is as common in the West African way of life as going out to dinner is for many westerners. Without social or moral misgivings, sexual acts are commonly performed in exchange for money, favors, or services, as well as for the most common reason-enjoyment. Despite the social acceptance of casual sex, jealousy is as much of a problem in their culture as it is in ours. But jealousy is hardly the worst side effect of their behaviors.

The prostitute shown here is aware of some sexually transmitted diseases, but is skeptical about the existence of AIDS. To many West Africans, it is a made-up disease, a malady conjured up by missionary groups who've resorted to scare tactics in their decades-long attempt to change sexual behaviors. Their doubts also stem from the fact that there are no visible signs of AIDS. Medication isn't available to slow down the weakening of the immune system, so there are no overt signs of physical deterioration to prove that AIDS is affecting the population. For Africans, people who die today are dying from the same afflictions they always have: dehydration, disease, malnutrition, etc. Telling them that AIDS accelerates these processes or makes people more vulnerable to these conditions is equally ineffective.

The task of educating people and effecting changes in behavior has been more difficult than anticipated. It requires participation from non-religious groups and the world community as a whole.

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Country-Primary Location Name: Africa
Credit: Dan Heller
Object Name: golden-ears-2.jpg
By-line: Dan Heller
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
Keywords: ears, golden, montage, africa
Location: Mali
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Keywords: ears, vertical, golden, montage, africa