December 01, 2006

World AIDS day

Today is World Aids Day.

Here in South Africa, approximately 6.5 million people are HIV positive. Most of those 6.5 million are between the ages of 19 and 34, so basically if you take a group of my peers, statistically speaking, 1 in every 5 people is infected.

Scary, scary thoughts. There were some more scary stats on the news like…less than 50% of all current 15-year olds will actually reach retirement age!

About two weeks ago I was changing the channel on TV when I happened upon a documentary about HIV & AIDS in a mining community in SA.

The journalist was interviewing sex workers in the community who all said that none of the men want to wear condoms and if they do, then they have to give them a discount. So instead of paying R150 (about $20), they get to pay R120 (about $17).

I was horrified and could not believe it. These women are knowingly risking their lives for so little money.

Then she interviewed the men and asked them if they use condoms. ALL of them without exception said, definitely not! Why? Because "it's like eating a sweet with the wrapper on".

Can you believe it?! I was horrified at the carelessness and thoughtlessness.

And to top it all off, they go back to visit their families once every couple of months, sleep with their wives and infect them too.

My view is fine, if you want to kill yourself, go right ahead, but please don't hurt innocent bystanders like your wives and kids.

I couldn't help thinking that no wonder the AIDS pandemic is so widespread. It is not a new disease and everybody knows people who are dying from it, and yet...these men don't care enough about their lives to take precautions.

Just today, a guy at work said this - every Saturday in the township, just in his neighbourhood there are about 10 funerals.

Isn't this crazy? Or am I being overly dramatic?

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