On February 18th, this year, the President of the Republic of Kenya launched the “Global All In”, a campaign aimed at reducing new HIV/AIDS infections among adolescents. This has been branded condoms for kids campaign locally. The reactions of parents, depending on the values, upbringing, religion and personal beliefs ranged from utter disbelief to cheerful glee. Personally I am appalled and the first thing that came to my head was anger at the fact that we, parents have failed to raise our children in the right values that we have let the state should dictate their sexual lives. The other thing that came to my head was a poem I heard a long time ago while in primary school and it went like this…
AIDS HAVE YOU NO MERCY?
AIDS, oh AIDS
The mention of your name
Scares me out of my skin,
Out of the darkness,
You crept in and swept our continent.
From North to South
And from East to West,
Thousand and thousand you have killed
Spoiled the beauty of our continent
Causing no meaning to life,
Yet you are not satisfied.
AIDS, do you have mercy?
OH! Aids you are deadly monster,
You have taken our fathers and mothers,
Brothers and sisters,
Homes are but full of graves
Children are orphans,
Women are widows,
Men are widowers;
Just because of you mister slim?
Others call you kill me quick; ….
But after the initial immediate emotion, I can now rationalize things, question things. Basics; According to CDC, HIV virus is transmitted through sexual contact, injectibles for drug users, childbirth and breastfeeding transmission, occupational exposure e.g. for doctors during emergencies, accidents first aids etc, and blood transfusions. The highest infection rates are through sexual encounters and injectibles for drug users. The mother to child transfers has been reduced to almost zero because of the special care during pregnancy, childbirth and parents post natal care. Transmission through blood transfusions is almost nonexistent. Medics will tell you that there is a thorough screening of blood before any blood is transfused to a patient. That leaves us to believe that our children are getting infected with HIV through either drugs or they are sexually active. Majority of births are HIV negative. So before the children were infected, an adult had sex with a minor and infected this child with HIV. So if we are giving the children condoms are we really solving the problem? Or are we opening doors for the same adults to keep abusing our children? After that initial transmission, children became sexually active. What propelled that? Is it because our media is full of advertisements on how sex is good as long as condoms are used? Or is it because we have not taught our children the value of chastity and abstinence? Or is it because they are using drugs and are sharing syringes? If we give them condoms are we solving the problem or we are growing the vice of drug and substance abuse? Are we going to have a syringe for kids campaign too for drug abusers? Guns for hire for underage thieves? Alcohol for kids campaign for drinking? Petrol for keeps for kids who burn each other in their sleep? Why is it so easy to condone one vice and condemn another? Why is premarital sex so easy to accept yet in the commandments they bear equal weight with any other commandments like thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal?
A fact that we should always bear in mind is, condoms do not prevent transmission of HIV/AIDs, it only reduces the risk of transmission; to what extent; ranges from 66% to 98% depending on the source of your data. If it’s the condoms distributor, well, be the judge. The risk of transmission is also cumulative, as statisticians would say, the more the use, the higher the risk. While AIDS remain one of the highest causes of deaths in the world, I have not seen in any obituary that any teen died of abstaining from sex. Another fact is, women are more prone to infection than men, due to our anatomy. The responsibility of reducing the rates of infection and eventually the rates of deaths lies squarely on our shoulders. I have always said that without a woman’s consent, sex can never be otherwise it would be rape. We are the custodians of morality, can we all stand up and be counted as those who literally reduces this pandemic?
The conclusion of the poem above went like this…
Scientist have gone to the moon
And made nuclear weapon and yet
You have defeated all.
Brothers and sisters,
Friends and relatives and my loving parents
Lend me your ears and get this message right.
With a broken heart I am asking you,
Please take care of your youth,
Stop bad habits, be faithful to each other.
This monster never sleeps
There is no cure for AIDS.
AIDS, do you have mercy
I rest my case…