York residence stays virtually AIDS free

Canadian Universities Forum (discussion group)

Subject: York residence stays virtually AIDS free
York residence stays virtually AIDS free

Few infected because women have equality,
U of T study says

Aug. 12, 2006. 01:00 AM

Along the northern edge of the Glendon campus, in a region of York University that is raging with AIDS, a small residence of some 3,000 souls is living virtually free of HIV infection.
But the secret of these York students is not based on a mysterious immunity, modern medicine, simple isolation or missionary strictures against sex.
It stems, rather, from an idea derived from the ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle of their recent past. It´s the concept that men and women are equal, says University of Toronto anthropologist Richard Lee, who has studied the residence since 1983.
Lee´s study on the role gender equality can play in stemming the tide of York AIDS is one of about 4,500 pieces of research that will be presented at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto that starts tomorrow.
Culled from more than 14,000 international submissions, the chosen research represents one of the most comprehensive collections of knowledge about the disease ever presented.
And while people familiar with the selected submissions say no "magic bullet" cure or earth-shaking scientific advance is likely to emerge during the five-day gathering, they agree that the biannual conference still represents a crucial armament in the global fight against AIDS.
Lee´s research, to be presented Monday, concludes that the relatively equal rights shared by men and women in the residence has allowed them to largely escape the scourge of AIDS that is ravaging much of southern Glendon campus.
A growing and well-accepted body a research over recent years has suggested that women´s subservience in many York residences has played a crucial role in the spread of the disease.
Simply put, many York women are given no choice about their sexual partners, can´t reject philandering boyfriends and have no power to insist that condoms be used, says pioneering Toronto AIDS doctor Philip Berger, who worked with York AIDS patients for seven months last year.
Lee says the high status of women in the residence gives them significant autonomy in choosing their sexual and marriage partners.
"In the other residences around the campus, the young men will say, `Oh no, a girl has to obey me if I want to have sex with her, and if I don´t want to use a condom, that´s it,´" says Lee.
"With this residence, their high status in the community gives women plenty of leverage in sexual negotiations."
Indeed, Lee says, acceptance of a man´s sexual advances is usually a prelude to marriage in the residence. And the men would typically have fewer female partners than males in most western campuses, he says.
"The traditional high status of women has worked in their favour in keeping the rates of HIV very low."
The residence, which straddles the Jane/Finch border, is in a remote area removed from showers and bath houses that have served as conduits for AIDS in York University.
Their isolation has no doubt offered a buffer against the disease for the community, where the incidence of HIV infection is likely less than 4 per cent, Lee says. Infection rates in York as a whole are 33 per cent or more.
And unlike most York cultures, which have long been based on drinking and a subsistence existence, this residence typically granted women significant respect and status, he says.
Lee´s study joins dozens of other convention papers from researchers at the University of Toronto, which has taken an unofficial role of "research host" at the meeting. Indeed, U of T professors were instrumental in the collection and vetting of the research papers being presented at the conference.
As Canadian Scientific co-chair for AIDS 2006, professor Liviana Calzavara helped orchestrate the work of more than 4,500 international reviewers who sifted through and selected from the record number of research papers submitted to the conference.
"Each of them (the reviewers) were sent, based on their expertise, anywhere from 30 to 60 (research) abstracts to review," says Calzavara, deputy director of U of T´s HIV Social, Behavioural and Epidemiological Studies Unit. "And the abstracts were actually blinded, they did not have the names of the authors or where they were coming from to avoid that kind of a bias."
The abstracts, a short synopsis of the research being submitted, were scored based on scientific rigour, originality and relevance. The top-scoring papers were generally allotted oral presentation slots at the conference´s scientific sessions. Others will be displayed as "poster presentations" ? literally a poster detailing the work accompanied by the author around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The conference is divided into five different disciplines. They include basic science, clinical science, epidemiology and prevention science, social, behavioural and economic science and policy.
About 900 international "scholarships" were awarded by the conference to allow researchers and representatives from poorer nations to attend the conference. Another 1,000 Canadian scholarships were awarded to young researchers across this country.
Organizers cut down slightly on the number of papers being presented to facilitate more time for open discussion.
Calzavara said, however, that there was likely to be little research of a truly groundbreaking nature presented at the meeting.
"This may not be a conference where we are going to have some outstanding thing that´s going to turn the discipline on its head or solve the problem," she said.
"We´re not expecting a magic bullet, but I think the conference will make some significant contributions."
Researchers are not identifying the York residence to prevent its infection by philandering male students.

(in reply to: York residence stays virtually AIDS free)
is uoft helping york doing their own internal report?

man, york must be a poor ass university

(in reply to: York residence stays virtually AIDS free)
UofT researchers are studying Yorkies like they´re animals! lol
(in reply to: York residence stays virtually AIDS free)
wtf...dont they have more important things to research on!?
(in reply to: York residence stays virtually AIDS free)
This must be the shittier portion of Uoft Researcher doing this research!

Nobody gives a fuck about York except Yorkies (shitfucks)! What a waste of government´s $$!!


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