New Civilization News: AIDS in Africa - 17 October 2002    
 AIDS in Africa - 17 October 2002
picture16 Oct 2002 @ 23:03, by ashanti

* AIDS is a subject that looms large over Africa. In South Africa alone, it is estimated that if the current rate of infection continues, in a mere five years' time, 45% of households will be headed by children whose parents have died of AIDS. That means they have no parental nurturing, no schooling, and have to scramble to eke out a living. Government social grants are not even going to touch the tip of the iceberg. In addition, to gain access to government grants, they have to supply their identity numbers, and many of these children have no identity numbers. Aids in Africa requires intelligent strategy to deal with it.

* Personally, I have lost two friends and one work colleague to this cruel disease. Another two work colleagues are infected. There are so many theories about AIDS, HIV, and what caused it. One is that the virus was artificially manufactured by the CIA, to target black people specifically.
(This was reinforced when South Africas' Dr Wouter Basson, nicknamed "Dr Death" because he was considered to be responsible for working on biochemical weapons aimed specifically at black people, was testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. The United States and British governments immediately put pressure on the South African government to seal Dr. Bassons' testimony.As a result of this, many Africans believe that the USA and UK were assisting with the programme.)

* This explains the African governments' (South Africa in particular) resistance to providing access to anti-retroviral treatment (western solutions imposed on Africans again). The politics over AIDS has delayed the formulation of effective strategy to manage and address the issue, and has resulted in a number of civic organizations, such as the Treatment Action Campaign, forming to rally and pressure government to allow its HIV-infected citizens to be treated with what is currently available. Government has been influenced by a school of thought that denies that HIV is the cause AIDS, and this has led to years of court-wrangling and battling, while people die daily.

* Traditional solutions, such as awareness campaigns, education, promotion of safe sex and monogamy have not yet proven effective. In cases where safe sex and monogamy have been practiced, the infection rate has reduced. However, monogamy is not a culturally accepted norm in Africa, and it is unlikely that the majority will start practicing what is again, another Western concept. Strategies for managing two aspects need to be developed - 1) the management and treatment of the disease for people currently infected 2) the prevention of the futher spread of the disease. Denying that the disease exists, has not helped.

* On the brighter side, the awareness that AIDS is a problem that needs to be confronted, has increased. Some creative solutions and strategies are emerging.

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