Yesterday was World AIDS day, and it was marked with much pomp the world over. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS is one of those diseases currently gaining international attention and despite being with us for a few decades now, still makes headlines and ‘Breaking News’, each time an issue relating to it comes to fore.
From the days when having AIDS meant the death sentence to the infected, to today when most HIV+ (Human Immune Deficiency Virus, is responsible for the presentations and manifestations seen in those living with AIDS) individuals now live better, healthier, purposeful and more meaningful lives, we have come a long way.
Reports say, the rate of new infections have dropped, even stagnated in some places, while stigmatization initially associated with the disease is gradually becoming a thing of the past, as most people have friends, relatives or acquaintances living with the still dreaded disease. The abundance of support groups have also contributed in no small measure to mitigating the effect of the disease on the infected and affected.
Economically, the AIDS phenomenon has provided employment for many in the Non-Governmental Organization, NGO sector especially in low income and developing countries, with funds in aid and grants coming from the rich, western countries to the not so well-off ones of Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. Infact many NGO owners and/or proprietors have massively enriched themselves from accruals from donor agencies, foundations and countries, making the NGO sector, especially in the AIDS “market” to witness an unprecedented boom in their activities, infact it’s remained the fad in town for sometime now in Africa, that I fear it may become a strong lobby group that may attack successfully the efforts at procurring an eventual cure for the menace, just so that they can keep their “un-taxed” businesses going.
It’s become almost anathema to hear of denials of the disease by heads of states and prominent leaders, as was obtainable in the past, and tales of unsubstantiated claims of cures, have all but dwindled to its lowest in years. More attention is now been paid to making free treatment/management opportunities available to more infected people, especially those in the rural areas, as well as in geographically disadvantaged places of the world.
The politics of yesteryear’s “source” of infection, fulfillment of religious and end-time/apocalyptic prophesies (especially as relating to Gay people, fornicators and adulterers), have given way to the propriety of granting permissions (on humanitarian grounds) to developing countries to manufacture cheaper “clones”, as it’s costing them an arm and a leg to purchase the very expensive Antiretroviral, ARV drugs and then distribute freely or at heavily subsidized rates to their infected. We should even expect more politics when news of a permanent cure eventually comes to light, as the race to be the first to announce it hots up, and it becomes increasingly clear that the Nobel Prize for Medicine will not be enough to satiate the appetite of the dutiful researchers.
Clergy of most religions condemning the use of Condoms, while promoting Abstinence may have failed in their effort to pass a seemingly unrealistic message across to today’s young people and youth. It has thus become pertinent that a more realistic message, aimed at reducing the incidence and prevalence of the scourge is sought and propagated by religious bodies, if they are to reduce the number of hypocrites in their fold, even among clergy.
For now, it remains best to ABSTAIN if one could, or to remain with one faithful partner if one must have sex, and/or to use CONDOMS (male/female), if one cannot restrict oneself to any of the above.
Because there’re other means via which one could contract the infection (when body fluids from an infected person comes in contact with that of an uninfected person) it’s advisable to get tested every Six months.
This is to an AIDS-Free World!