This absolutely lyrical novel by renown writer Amin Maalouf has certainly made some connections in my head. Let me not go so far as to say that he was writing this with HIV in mind, but I very much doubt that he was writing it from a "place" free of HIV.
To explain a little. The novel sets off with a scientist and his journalist wife stumbling over a scoop that there exists a drug that favours male births. At first their worries are paid no heed by the general public, but after some time, after being confronted with birth statistics, the general public starts to realize that this is actually the case.
A decrease in female births, naturally leads to a decrease in births. The tendency in the novel, was that especially in so-called developing (3rd world) countries, giving birth to boys had higher status than giving birth to girls.
Now how does this relate to HIV? Well, Once it has been revealed for all that there in fact does exist a drug favouring male births, a person of influence in politics on an international level, comes out and declares that this is a good thing! If people of poor countries give birth to fewer girls, there will eventually be less people. Instead of this drug posing a problem, it is posing a solution to overpopulation and poverty in these countries!
Quite a few people are taken in by this argument, and the trend of giving birth to mostly boys reach the Western countries too. Once the generation of mostly boys start entering their puperty, the flaws of this "perfect solution" are revelead, however. Because of the lack of girls, the boys growing up are becoming more frustrated, violent and depressed. Adam needs his Eve!
To return to MY argument, what this makes me wonder, is at people's attitutes towards poverty and the so-called 3rd world countries. It makes me wonder if a lot of people can ignore the huge threat we are facing with the HIV pandemic, on the basis that some "good" comes from it (such a lethal disease surely keeps the world and the 3rd world countries from overpopulating). It also makes me wonder if we will only take serious action once it hits home with the same force it has hit other parts of the world(parallel to how in the novel, people only realized their errors when they saw how the boys were turning out).
This is yet another North/South dichotomy. The North refuses to take responsibility as long as the problems remain in the South. What we don't realize is that if we don't help them there, it's going to get us too eventually. It's only a question of time.