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Friday, November 30, 2007

Stop Press, Avoid HIV/AIDS



The heightening political heat may have obscured an important day in our calender. Tomorrow is world's AIDS day dedicated by the UN to reflect on the impacts of this scourge on both the affected and infected.

HIV and AIDS probably remain the most misunderstood human conditions despite being with us for more than three decades. The stigma and trivialization of this crave danger to mankind cannot be gainsaid.

But in the din of all this dark cloud lies a silver lining. Knowledge can help emancipate ourselves from social and emotional bondage occasioned by AIDS. The hard facts must be faced squared in effort to curb this menace. Almost every Kenyan knows about the dangers and facts about AIDS. We all sing about behavioural change except our efforts often end at the parroting.

We must seize our own destiny in our hands and measure up to the challenge of fighting AIDS lest we be condemned as the lost generation that yapped and yapped some more with no tangible effort to stop an epidemic taking residence amidst us.

Cultural slavery
Kenyans must not remain slaves to cultures laced with death. This is not to uncritically demonise any culture instead we must be alive to the fact that culture is dynamic and you only hide behind a retrogressive culture at the peril of going extinct. This is no excuse to shout demeaning and stereotypical thinking about any traditional practices.

There is more to cultural dynamism than simply being the opposite of static. We must embrace any practice that can help minimize our demise without subtracting any substantive facets of our existence and tradition. For example circumcision among heterosexual men for example is now known to significantly reduce AIDS prevalence.

None other than the respected Lancet medical journal reported in February 2007 findings of three major trials conducted in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda which indicated that circumcision can significantly reduce men's chances of contracting the virus that causes AIDS.

It is medically proven that the fragile tissue on the inside of the foreskin is vulnerable to minor tears or abrasions during sex. It is through these tears that HIV can get into the blood. If not for anything the practice promotes human hygiene.

Athletic around the waist
Make no mistake. This is no fodder for ethnic purists who will predictable and uncritically steal the sails and cloth this scientific fact in their bigotry gab and run with it. AIDS is real and it has nothing to do with tribes but EVERYTHING to do with our individual behaviors.

For the infected and affected they all need us. HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence it used to be. Know your status, count your blessings, stay and live positively.

We must collectively fight this monster. Because even circumcision does not provide immunity to the AIDS virus. the era of emotional machoism is long gone and the present world has no room for plural marriages nor partners.

Be athletic with your waist if you must. But also be aware that in so doing you are unwittingly and terminally signing your death warrant in golden letters. No amount of preaching can save us from this hell. Abstinence is easier preached than practiced.

Circumcision may offers only partial protection but the small reduction in risk of infection may be the demarcation between life and death. If you must indulge then use condoms and avoid multiple sexual partners. There are no two ways about it, no ifs no buts.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance."---- Elizabeth Taylor

Marianne Briner said...

May I suggest to all who are still 'ignorant' that you go to Kibera and other places where the only ones left are the grandmothers taking care of their (mostly also HIV-positive) grandchildren - and then go to Nyumbani - first the Aids Oprhans Village in Karen - set up mostly with the help and money of Mzungus since their Founder (my friend Father Angelo d'Agostini) found it almost impossible to raise money amongst the rich Kenyans ..... so some 'whites' had to 'jump in' ....

Until some years ago when Lucy Kibaki joined and helped to secure a plot for a new village near Kitui and also took over the patronage ..... in the meantime, some hundred children found a new home and some grandmothers found a secure place to still take care of them without having to have 'nightmares' about what's happening if they die themselves.....

This is a new approach to the problem and should become an example for all Kenya .....

I was planning to put some of the money raised by the sales of my book to this organization a.o. since it was Father d'Ag (as we used to call him) gave me the courage and his expertise to write my story in the first place ....

For all those who want to know more, go to www.nyumbani.org and if you want to help (they also look for volunteers in various fields) contact Sister Mary Owens who took over when Father d'Ag died on November 20, 2006.......

So whatever you want to say about Lucy Kibaki, at least here she did what a First Lady should do: take care of the poorest and most disadvantage .....

But allow me to add that I don't agree on her 'allowance'- I do not even want to talk about that incredible increase which is a shame by itself - I think that her husband has the means and the obligation to pay for her ..... it should not be the People of Kenya as poor as most of them are.

I think, at least here both of them have been ill-advised just to consider this .........

MB

MB said...

In addition to my former post, I wish to inform those who are interested to know more about Nyumbani: they also take care of several thousand HIV-positive children who are still living with some family members mainly in Kibera.

Nyumbani supplies them under their programme 'Lea Toto' with the necessary healthy food and medicine and makes regular blood tests helping them to stay alive, going to school etc.....

So once again I repeat my appeal: go and see Sister Mary and all the others working in Nyumbani - see for yourself what can be done - and then convince others to join since there is so much more to do ....

Don't wait that others do it - as I said in another post: the road to a better Kenya has to start with every individual contributing whatever he can .... and not only with words, with deeds ......

And I want to repeat my appeal to Sam Okello at this point:

Let's settle our accounts in the interest and for the benefit of these innocent children suffering because of the 'sins' of their parents .....

If you are serious that you want changes - a better Kenya - let's start here ..... together!!!!!!!!!!

MB

Mbaya D said...

This is ODM propaganda and we are not swallowing anybit of it

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