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.
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.