It’s time to slow down and review

Windhoek – Most people around my age and younger have all heard and have received education on the HIV pandemic for more than half of their lives, IU have said this before and will keep on saying it. Government, Non-governmental Organisations, HIV/AIDS organisations has done a lot to educate us and to constantly update us with information pertaining to the pandemic. The origin of AIDS and HIV has puzzled scientists ever since the illness first came to light in the early 1980s.  Just where did AIDS come from?  Where AIDS came from is really not important; it’s here it’s a part of our lives we have all been affected and some infected with the virus and the mystery of where it came from will not unfold. So forget about it! What we as Namibians should really focus on as a matter of importance with the country celebrating 21 years of self-rule is what have we done about the pandemic.  Forget about the government and organisations and reflect on what you as an individual has done for yourself and perhaps for your country in the fight against HIV. There are so many things that one can do in this battle. And the good news is, you are doing it for yourself, you reap the benefits at absolutely no cost. We are so fortunate to be in a country were most services in the health sector relating to HIV are free of charge.  Just sit back for a few minutes and think, in the 5, 10, 15 or whatever the number of years I have known about HIV, what has been my contribution as a citizen in this fight?  Have I abstained from sex? Have I used condoms correctly and consistently? Have I been tested for HIV? Have I encouraged anyone to get tested? If I am HIV positive, have I been taking my antiretroviral drugs correctly and consistently? Have I stigmatised and discriminated against an HIV positive person? Have I condemned stigma and discrimination were HIV is concerned? If I am HIV positive and pregnant, have I attended Antenatal Care for the prevention of mother-to-child treatment? Have I ever been a part of an AIDS club at a school or University or church lobbying for HIV issues? Have I been faithful to my partner and kept away from sexual networks? Have I considered circumcision?  The list is endless and as Namibia turns 21 years of Independence we must ask ourselves what we have done in this battle.  Enough of what government should do or is supposed to have done, it’s time to do a self-reflection.  One single person, in his/her own little way can make a difference. Government has done its part and has done a part of our portion too with events like National Testing day that would not have been necessary if we all just stood up and went for a test. Sadly people wait for days like this and this shows, we still need to do a lot for ourselves as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned.  Government need not spend so much money on HIV/AIDS, we can decide to start doing things correctly, that is all it takes; a decision to stick to the rules and live life by these.  Imagine a Namibia were people want to know their HIV status and do not just get tested because they are pregnant or need some sort of insurance from a broker. Imagine a Namibia with zero tolerance for sexual networks and stigma and discrimination. A Namibia were people drink responsibly and do not engage in risky sexual activities, were men and women are faithful to their partners. That Namibia is possible and it begins with you, with one person.  

March 2011
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