Elizabeth Pisani is an independent researcher and analyst who has spent the last 15 years working on the subject of HIV in four different countries. She is known for her assumption-busting research and analysis. Despite her convictions, she feels that the world is failing to grasp and manage the reality of HIV (Pisani 00:34). Moreover, she demonstrates how politics and “morality” have stymied financing, and she calls for allocating funds to areas where they may make a real impact.
Pisani begins her TED Talk by highlighting that people do not get HIV only due to their actions being stupid. According to Pisani’s talk, when most people do unintelligent things, they have perfectly reasonable motives for doing so. Individuals are aware that there are two primary routes for HIV to spread: sexual contact and medications. Pisani helps them see the difficulties that lie under the surface of sex and drugs (Pisani 01:11). As a result, Pisani indicates that most people in Africa are affected by the notion that sex and blood may transmit HIV.
Therefore, due to gender discrimination and poverty, some individuals choose to “rationalize” their actions. This happens even if they are well aware that there is a high likelihood that they will get HIV through using contaminated needles. Using the same needles in a group setting always transmits HIV, a fatal disease, but in the case of Pisani’s talk, the actions become perfectly rational, owing to their illnesses. According to the findings, addicts in a group share the same needles to avoid going to jail (Pisani 03:00). In Indonesia, for example, if addicts were caught with a needle and the cops apprehended them, they could be arrested and imprisoned. However, if they could use their needle right now and go to jail tomorrow, that would be ideal. Therefore, although addicts believe it is a terrible idea to expose themselves to HIV, they presume spending the next year in the correctional facility is a far worse notion. As a result, they regard needle sharing as a rational decision.
Additionally, carrying a condom is a rational decision since it minimizes the contraction of HIV. Towards the conclusion of her talk, Pisani tells the audience the tale of Ines, a transgender prostitute who works on the streets of Jakarta (Pisani 17:18). Ines is compelled to take action because she has no other choice. As a result, even though it is a bad job, it is better for her to earn a living as a prostitute, making it rational. Therefore, it is imperative to consider prevention when making logical moves.
Politicians make no sense from the perspective of a sex worker as most of them give incentives for their personal gain, which is irrational to public health. According to Pisani, politicians are rational in their insensible decisions because they want to satisfy their electoral needs. As a result, individuals should support what is right and elect politicians who make rational decisions to evade the challenges of HIV transmission and gender discrimination.
The most important aspect of the Pisani talk is that everyone has a different reason for doing something. One of the wonders of human existence is that there are as many different ways to be rational as there are human beings on the planet. Those modes of being rational, on the other hand, are not independent of one another. In addition, the people are the voters; it is everyone’s responsibility to demand that politicians make rational decisions based on scientific evidence and common sense and hold them accountable for their actions.
Pisani, Elizabeth. “Sex, Drugs and HIV-Let’s Get Rational.” TED, 2010. Web.