An HIV-Positive Muppet
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Thread: An HIV-Positive Muppet

  1. #1
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    An HIV-Positive Muppet

    I heard about this on the news last night, and they made it sound like it was going to be on our broadcasts of Sesame Street, and then on MSN there was an article stating HIV Puppet To Join, so I clicked, and here is the information if anyone else is interested. I thought it was a bit wierd.

    An HIV-positive Muppet is moving into Sesame Street.
    The character, who will be a five-year-old female, will be unveiled this September on the South African version of the show, called Takalani Sesame. The Muppet is still being designed and doesn't yet have a name or a color. She will interact with the show's other Muppets, including Elmo, in an attempt to overcome the myths that surround HIV and AIDS in a country where more than 10 percent of the population is infected.

    The new addition to the Muppet roster was announced this week at the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona by Sesame Street Workshop's vice president and senior adviser, Joel Schneider.

    "This character will be fully a part of the community," Schneider tells Reuters. "She will have high self-esteem. Women are often stigmatized about HIV and we are providing a good role model as to how to deal with one's situation and how to interact with the community."

    Although scripts are still being hammered out, officials at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which airs the program, have a general idea of how the character will behave.

    "It will have, in a childlike manner, open discussions about sexuality, HIV and AIDS, and death and dying," the broadcaster's Yvonne Kgame tells the Associated Press. "The reality is that children as young as they are affected very closely by HIV/AIDS. They experience death and dying of people very close to them."

    South Africa has the world's largest population infected by HIV, with more than 4.7 million people living with the virus.

    The HIV-educational outreach was initiated by Sesame Street in cooperation with South Africa's Department of Education, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

    "Sesame Street works with all of its partners to develop content specific to that country and that's what we do broadcasters all over the world," says Sesame Street Workshop spokeswoman Beatrice Chow.

    And for those parents worried that the children's show may be crossing the line into sex ed, Schneider says the subject matter would be handled like all serious topics with appropriate delicacy.

    "Not every show will deal explicitly with HIV/AIDS," he tells Reuters. "We want to show that here is an HIV-positive member of our community who you can touch and interact with. We will be very careful to fashion our messages so they are appropriate to the age group. What do I do when I cut my finger? What do I do when you cut your finger? That sort of thing."

    The show is no stranger to difficult themes, having taken on school-bullying, death and even the September 11 tragedy.

    Sesame Street, which is broadcast in 70 countries, has no immediate plans to debut the character for American viewers. But it's possible she could turn up on other international editions of the show where AIDS education is needed.

  2. #2
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    I doubt it...

  3. #3
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    Hmph.

    10% of the South African population are HIV positive - and that's conservative. If the true figure is even as low as 10% then that's a major social catostrophe. In the west we have had the luxury of (to a very large extent) ignoring the problem. But imagine you were south african and you knew 30 people. At least 3 of them would have AIDS.

    That's a bit more difficult to sweep under the carpet. And to avoid ostracisation of 10% of the population I can imaging a government would need to do something towards education of the population with regard to allaying what are often irrational fears associated with the illness.

    Sesame Street - why not? After all, starting with the next generation is always how you change a social paradigm.
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    Originally posted here by ntsa

    Sesame Street - why not? After all, starting with the next generation is always how you change a social paradigm.
    Yes, but you might be forgetting something. It's Sesame Street. The only serious thing that's ever happened in that show is when Big Bird realised he couldn't dance.

    Children are innocent. Why would you want to take away their innocence by unnecessarily telling them about distressing things like AIDS...etc.

    Yes, if something is to be done, it has to start with the ``next generation``, but I don't think kids aged 4 or 5 need know.

    Just my opinion.

  5. #5
    I doubt it as well.

  6. #6
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    It will have, in a childlike manner, open discussions about sexuality,
    This is what I have a problem with, not the HIV part. I'm fine with HIV, I agree that children really need to be taught compassion, understanding, and open-mindedness at an early age. However, I as a parent, am SICK AND TIRED of people telling my son more than I feel like he's ready to know about sex. When I decide it's time for him to know, I'll tell him.

    Just my .02

    Deb
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  7. #7
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    Originally posted here by jethro
    Yes, if something is to be done, it has to start with the ``next generation``, but I don't think kids aged 4 or 5 need know.
    That is a good point, and I think that is where the whole subject wierds me out. I cause we can't really relate in the same sense. I would not my children running around thinking everyone has AIDS or is HIV+, but then again. If 1 in every 10 people actually had AIDS or was HIV+ I would want my children to be cautious and play it safe. I guess the real point is, can't we turn this into a public health course to be taught in the schools rather than have BigBird show you how to put on rubber gloves before you touch anyone, and always keep yourself clean and so on...?

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    Unfortunatly the children of many parts of Africa are not innocent. These people deal with AIDS on a daily basis and because of it, the numbers just grow. In Kenya it is reported that 1/2 of the children you see in the streets are infected with HIV. Many have lost parents to AIDS related problems. They don't have access to the supression drugs that we do in the U.S.. AIDS prevention is desperatly needed, but this will do very little. Most of those that need this information, don't have television to watch it. But hey, one life saved is enough to try.
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted here by Reality
    They don't have access to the supression drugs that we do in the U.S.. AIDS prevention is desperatly needed, but this will do very little. Most of those that need this information, don't have television to watch it.
    I know I read an article about South Africa starting their own Welfare System, I don't want to start any arguements on our welfare system, because I know it is abused, but their are people who need it. Do you think this would help those who can't afford medication, the oppurtunity to receive it? http://www.welfare.gov.za/

  10. #10
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    It might. Some of the African governments are corrupt, very corrupt and I doubt there is much help to be found in those countries. But again, if one person is spared because of the efforts, it is worth it. Most of the missions work to Africa is focused on AIDS prevention, at least with the groups I know. Mom is a professional photographer and has been on several of the trips to Kenya in particular. I'll see if I can scan a couple to show you the living conditions. But I doubt mom took many negative photos since she always sees what is good. Most of her picture will be of the people She loves the people of Kenya.

    Basically take everything you know from living in the U.S. and remove most of the luxuries and you will have what most of the general population has to work with. Most don't have TVs and all too few can barely survive. Education is next to nothing and even the roads in many cases are practically non-existant. The male/female role is pretty much reversed. The women do most of the work and the men sit around and watch (wait thats not that differant).
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