Don't shift the blame for Aids

2008-12-11 00:00

I was listening to the radio this morning on my way to work and there was a discussion on the significance of World Aids Day. It was very interesting to hear what most people had to say. I did, however, find it funny that almost every second caller mentioned the word “government”, which was closely followed by words such as “not doing enough”. Are we trying to shift the blame? Are we pointing fingers? Is it because we are scared of taking responsibility for our own health?

Many of us have lost loved ones to this disease and many of us know very well that the government had nothing to do with it. It just feels better to have someone to blame. At least then we are not forced to take responsibility for our actions. The sooner we wake up and learn to love our bodies, the sooner we can win this battle. The sooner we realise that we are the ones who can keep ourselves safe from this illness, the sooner we can defeat it.

The government has been providing condoms to the public for several years now. HIV/Aids awareness billboards are up on the sides of the roads and there are numerous adverts and campaigns that have been offered to the public. HIV/Aids has been taken very seriously in the last few years — schools run awareness programmes and hospitals do their bit. Even private companies contribute to awareness campaigns. There is only so much that the government can do. Or do we expect free condoms to be delivered to our doorsteps?

Most of the people who engage in sexual activities are adults who know the difference between right and wrong. When you have unprotected sex with someone, you know exactly what you are doing and what kind of risks you are taking. You also know very well that, as pleasurable as it may be, it is also unsafe and could be life-threatening, but you go ahead and do it. And when things go wrong, you choose to blame the government.

We are also in charge of how much information we have. If we feel that we are not sure or educated enough about this epidemic, shouldn’t it be up to us to go out and gather the information? Why should we wait for the government to provide us with it when it is our lives that are in danger?

We need to understand that even though this disease has no cure, even though it stays dormant for a while and makes us think that we are fine until it is almost too late, even though it strikes when we are at our weakest, we are bigger than it and we can beat it. We have a choice. If we choose to do right, we will be safe. However, if we choose to do wrong, just for a few minutes of pleasure, we should not be afraid to blame ourselves.

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