Conversation is the Answer

In “Making Conversation” and “The Primacy of Practice,” author Kwame Anthony Appiah expresses the importance in having respectful conversations so that we, as a global community, can learn from one another. Appiah promotes practices that can guide and support the HIV and AIDs issue that we learn from reading “AIDS, Inc.” by Helen Epstein. Epstein goes into detail about the battle to fight AIDs and compares the measures that have been taken in order to encourage safer sexual behaviors. Both Appiah and Epstein advocate for social cohesion by endorsing conversations within family, friends and other communities.Epstein begins by introducing loveLife, a US-based Kaiser Family Foundation, HIV prevention program (111). She explains the different recreation centers that have been placed to aid with children and young adults with activities to broaden their knowledge of AIDS and HIV. She makes conversation with children in regards to the health issue that expanded throughout the South African cities but only came to realize they were not as educated on the idea as she thought they would be. “The persistent denial of AIDS was deeply disturbing,” Epstein admits, “The programs seemed to reinforce the denial that posed so many obstacles to preventing HIV in the first place” (119). The author argues that there has to be a more efficient way to teach young adults and children about HIV and AIDS. Conversation would be the answer. She recalls Uganda, where, in 2003, they were the only African country to have a major decline in HIV prevalence. “The programs and policies that led to this success were conversations people had with family, friends, and neighbors – not about sex, but about the frightening, calamitous effects of AIDS itself” (116). She insists that simple conversations with people close to you could be the answer to prevent such horrible disease. Her argument consists of the same beliefs as Appiah, who writes, “Conversation doesn’t have to lead to consensus about anything, especially not values; it’s enough that it helps people get used to one another” (59). A simple conversation with another individual can both educate you and guide you into positive directions and creates social cohesion. Groups or communities where one can openly discuss questions, ideas, and beliefs without feeling pressured creates a unity of trust. Incorporating Appiah’s ideas may very well allow children and young adults to become educated in regards to this epidemic and allow them to live a longer, healthier life.



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