Sunday, March 04, 2007

AIDS IS STILL REAL!

Sometimes reality is a hard thing to face.Its human nature to try,as much as possible,to avoid thinking or imagining things that will depress you,make you cry,sad and even confused.The psychological therapists will tell you that thinking positive,putting a smile on your face are two important steps towards happiness,success and well-being.I agree with them.

However,there are times when one is forced to call a spade a spade.I am talking about times when we have to face the facts(even as we seriously question some of them) that AIDS remains a reality and a killer of millions of fellow African people.Now,I am not suggesting that the rest of world are not victims of the same killer disease.I just want to keep it real and in context to this blog's main agenda/theme...African Perspective!

Therefore,we can continue asking ourselves lots of important questions like,what happened,why Africa than anywhere else etc etc.But while asking ourselves those questions we still need to do something.Let us start by asking ourselves individually,what have we done to either stop the spread of the disease or help those who have been infected.It is only by looking at the face you see in the mirror as the "power of change and hope" that we can start claiming to be ambassador's of humanity.

The video below is from 2002 but the case remain almost the same.


9 comments:

The Intolerant One said...

Hello my friend. It has been awhile. I read this post with compassion, especially for the children who are often affected by being orphaned, and also some questions of my own.

What is percieved to be the main reason for the high HIV spread in Africa? Is it thru promiscious sexual activity? Is it thru careless blood transfusions? Is it a matter of both? Is it something else all together?Something is obviously failing there.

That appears to be the case when you have such a high concentration of HIV contained in a particular region of the world.

Jeff Msangi said...

The Intolerant One,
Just like you,I also keep asking myself almost same questions.But what I now know to be a fact is that the sexual activities in Africa are no different from anywhere else in the world(at least wherever I have had a chance to travel to).Some says its cultural practices like having more than one wife(polygamy).I do not buy that reasoning because I know that polygamy is practiced all over the world.For example here in North America lots of marriages break due to one partner cheating with another man or woman.To me that is unlegalized polygamy,same thing,right?May be the mistake Africans makes is to legalize!

Apparently,one fact still surprises me; the part of African continent affected mostly by HIV/AIDS cases(sub-saharan Africa)is also the area that receives big number of tourists every year.Now does this mean or should mean anything to anybody?Does these tourists bring not only foreign monetary exchange?Do they carry something else in their blood?

Just as you said,something is obviously failing there.I am still investigating,alternatively.

Patrick GK said...

Jeff, The Intolerant One,

I too am wondering at what the reasons for the spread of aids in Africa are. I mean, it certainly wouldn't be promiscuity, as Jeff pointed out and I am not so sure about blood transfusions either.

A few months ago there was a documentary that ran on CNN and CBC, "Living with Aids" or something similar was the title, it was about Aids in Africa, it was done by documentary filmmaker, Sorius Samura.

He actually went and lived with Aids patients in Zambia and in interviewing some of them, especially the men who had contracted HIV and had aids already was quite revealing to say the least.

These men were actually boasting of how they dodn't use protection, and how they are going to infect as many women as possible before they die. He tried to challenge that line of reasoning to no avail.

The general responses were varied from "why should they live while I am dying", "it's like an accident, it can happen to anyone" to "why me? I'm not the only evil person around, it's not fair" and more or less along the same lines.

As for tourism, I wouldn't be so sure, but all I can say is, tourism or no tourism, locals should be continually educated on how to protect themselves, that's the best safeguard against contracting the virus.

Check out this article:
http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/afraid/review.php

scout said...

i'm quite dubious about anyone interviewed who carrries the attitude that they'll infect people before they die. in any culture you'll find people with such a selfish attitude......the question is , how many? seems like there's a few isolated cases with this attitude and it only masks what is really going on, and that's a continued genocide of indigenous peoples.

if the african governments and organizations who were REALLY concerned with helping were to implement true help, treatment, prevention, facilities, medicines, and all the rest that goes along with anything in epidemic proportions would have been in place long ago.

instead, it has become a disease more prevalent in gay and indigenous societies.

what are the numbers, in comparison, in wealthy , white, straight society?

Jeff Msangi said...

Patrick,
I saw that documentary.It was bitter to see those men swearing to never die alone.However,I looked at it this way;in Africa HIV/AIDS positives status still means death even today when the ARVs are said to be available.So many reasons for that.Therefore do we think think those men are normal up in their brain?Aren't they just too confused at times wondering what happened and imagining the slow painful death that faces them?Its not an excuse but....

Scout,
I believe that some African governments are trying to save its people.They know that HIV is not only for gay people,in fact gay issues are just starting to mushroom now.

The problem is HIV/AIDS is now too much of a political issue than moral.As we know,political issue are so much contaminated along the way to produce weird and undesirable results.

Also they is the role that globalization of economies and other aspects of lives play.Corruption,which I believe is mostly an imported phenomen,plays a key role in killing millions of people.The question who is corrupting who remains critical.

However,I believe African governments and its leaders can play more role than just wait for donors direction and help.African leaders must commit themselves into health as a number one priorities than anything else.

Patrick GK said...

Scout, Jeff,

I hear you both, like Jeff pointed out, unlike the west, in Africa aids affects heterosexuals much more, there aren't that many gay(or should I say openly gay?) people.

In Africa, the rich and the poor are pretty much equally at risk. In Africa, aids is primarily transmitted through sexual encounters(not many blood transfusions or drug problems going on there when compared to the west, that is). So it is safe to say one's risk is almost entirely dependent on one's sexual behaviors.

And again unlike the west, just being HIV positive in Africa means a certain slow painful death. ARV drugs are hard to come by and when available they are exhorbitantly priced, very few can afford them. Why? Good question!

The attitude of some African leaders isn't helping either, the South African president being a case in point. While thousands have already died of the scourge and millions are infected in South Africa, Mr. Mbeki has the audacity to say he doesn't know anyone in SA who's died from aids, yeah right! What about Mr. Mandela's son who passed away a couple of years ago. I mean with utterances like that coupled with "the whites want to annihilate us that's why they created aids" slogans aren't helping the fight against this killer virus.

In many African customs it is taboo to talk to your children about sex(children are taught about sex by other respected community/clan/tribe members when they reach puberty but with times changing this aspect was hard to maintain so it pretty much died off), so it is tough to get parents to do this although it is gradually changing now. There is some hope on this front.

While Aids is being politised in the west, it has become big business in sub-saharan Africa, many NGO's(Non-Governmental Organisations) spring up claiming to fight aids, only to enrich a few greedy people with donor funds. It is even a big deal to land a job in an NGO especially if it's funded by foreign donors than to work at any "regular job" so university grads are knocking on NGO doors tirelessly.

The pay is good(several times more than what one would make in their area of expertise), the benefits great, I mean what's not to like working for such an organisation? Will this trend cause other sectors of the economy suffer in the long run? I have no doubt it will.

We still have a long way to go, but the first step starts with ourselves.

For starters I would call on all black men(I being one) to be honest and responsible in our sexual behaviors.

Jeff Msangi said...

Patrick,
You kind summed up everything so well.I loved your outlook in this whole saga of HIV/AIDS vs Africa and Africans.

I also know that men are key to changes in behaviors.But I also believe that we should never get tired of empowering women in terms of sexual education,their rights and responsibilities.This will give us a powerful holistic approach in the war against Aids/Hiv.Let us not exclude anyone or even put degree of responsibility too much on one person or group of people.

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