World AIDS Day: Are We Doing Enough?
World AIDS Day came and passed again. We donned red ribbons and posted updates on social media tagged #WorldAidsDay. That’s commendable. But how much do we want to talk about HIV and AIDS? How badly do we want to bring new infections to zero? How badly do you want to end HIV/AIDS in Kenya? Here’s a questionnaire for you.
1. Are you ready to get tested along with your sexual partner(s)?
Easy, right? You know you should get tested regularly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. Yet, you somehow keep holding off the visit to the clinic. Some things are best left unknown, right?
You know you should use protection all the time if the term ‘monogamous’ does not accurately describe the nature of your sexual relationships. Yet, you often risk it with your “regulars” because “they can’t possibly be careless”. Newsflash: they are already being careless with you when they agree not to use protection.
2. Are you ready to support sexual minorities?
I have said this before and I will say it again: we (Kenyans) have a “coming out problem”. We know that sexual minorities exist among us and some sell their bodies to us from time to time. But we can’t bring ourselves to talk about them, let alone protect them.
We know that we could protect sexual minorities by decriminalizing their acts; allowing them access to counseling and healthcare services; and protecting them from being violated by anyone and everyone, especially law enforcement. But we’d rather pretend that sex workers’ clients are not our parents, siblings, relatives, friends, clergymen, e.t.c. We’d rather castigate the gays and remind them that hellfire awaits their souls.
We’d rather cheer when we hear that 1 in 4 of circa 12,000 gay people in Kilifi is infected with HIV. Because that’s not our problem. And anyway, they deserve it for “going against the order of nature”. Don’t they?
3. Are you ready to support sex education for children?
No? Of course, you’d rather preserve their innocence. Pretend like they do not already know about it anyway. Imagine that the statistics out there are not true: that kids as young as 12 are having sex on the regular; and that majority of new infections occur in the 15-24 age group.
Your child could continuously learn about sex and safe sex practices using age-appropriate materials at each point along the way; or you can just leave them to explore the sexual jungle on their own when puberty knocks. They’ll turn out just fine, won’t they?
So, how did you fair? Are you ready to do this? Is there any other way? I always love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments section below.