Saturday, December 01, 2007
World AIDS day & Circumcision
I would like to start by asking you all to pause for a minute in memory of all the victims of AIDS that are deceased.
Next I would like to applaud all families taking care of the 'orphans of AIDS' and to those taking care of patients with AIDS/HIV related complications. You guys are magnificent people!
It's amazing that years after the discovery of this 'new disease', things seem to have worsened and not improved. Just the other day, news reports said that estimates of AIDS cases have risen in America. In years past, the misconception was that Africans we're too stupid to understand the cause and effect of unprotected sex and that was why the cases were increasing there. I can attest to the fact that this was not so.
By the time I was in high school in Zambia (mid-late '90's), we had representatives from various NGO's that would come in and talk to us about HIV and show pictures of sickly men, women and children. We saw pictures of penises oozing with puss and vaginas with various stages of decubitus wounds. We saw sketetons or children- reminiscent of the Ethiopian children in the 'we are the world' videos. There were countless numbers of billboards screaming out 'prevention is the cure' or something in those lines.
The message was loud and clear: Abstinence or Condoms was the key to a life free of HIV/ AIDS.
A few months ago, I found out that my cousin is HIV positive. My cousin is TWO DAYS older than I am. We saw the same billboards and heard the same messages. We knew almost the same people, including those that had AIDS.
Yesterday, news stations were abuzz with the story of the Zambian reporter Kenneth Gondwe that was recently circumcised. While I commend him for bringing this story to light. I fear that we will go back to the days when circumcisions were perfomed enmass and the same tool was used to cut the foreskin of the men in attendance. Most of the people in rural areas can not afford the $50 needed for the circumcision. In addition, if the message isn't sent out right, there will be a growing number of people that will assume that because they are circumcised, they will not get HIV when they fornicate sans condoms. Also, i can imagine a growing number of penile infections due to people performing their own circumcisions in the privacy of their own homes for lack of finances.
So any way, that's my little sermon for today.