Ever heard of HIV? Kachirombo? Kachibundu? Magawagawa? Well if you dont undrstand any of Malawian langauges dont worry. Its the virus called HIV and leads into full blown AIDS. It has killed lots of our people and its scale can only be linked to the 1912 flu pandemic. Simple facts, in Malawi official estimates show 14.4% of our pouplation is infected. In the whole of Sub Saharan Africa, according to UNAIDS, 25.6 million of the people are infected......we in Sub Saharan Africa account for 10% of the world population but we have the highest HIV prevalance at 65%.
Now let me present my own crude statistics manufactured in my kitchen. Prove me wrong if you can but I have no doubt that I am correct. In Malawi we are all affected by HIV. If you are not HIV positive for sure you have lost a relation, friend due an HIV related complication. Is this not correct? Well effectively, I am just trying to expose how acute the problem has become and see who is failing the fight.
Now I start my story. The first case was diagnosed in 1985. I remmber as an 9 year old boy listening on my father's Mitsushita radio at Ngerenge in Karonga that there is new disease called magawagawa...and I said what the heck this was all about. Just like many kids I used to be so inquisitive but parents just brush off.
Well, this is how io heard about disease and came to know more about it as i grew. Twenty three years gone and one has become a million plus..what a trigeomtric explosion of a killer disease. Very sad as we loose oiur lives. But who is failing us in the fight against HIV? What should we do?
These are very questions with simple answers to a yet killer disease. We know that over 90% of the cases are through sexual transmission..with other cases of blood transfusion, needles as well as mother to child transimission.....but the culprit is sexual transimission. We all know it.
There has been what i call the "condom solutio". The rationale has been that if you cannot resist a sexual encounter then trust a piece of rubber...for which you have no idea of who manufatured it..let alone the quality standards. Still the cases have risen just showing that the condom solution is another fail. It is time it was abandoned. Men of God hav had their ideas often conflicting and have not helped. Use of ARVs, well good idea but this after the virus has been contracted. Nevirapine therapy, well it works tp protect th unborn child from an infected mother.
I am just trying to see who should we blame. Not the Malawi government of course. Not churches of course. Civil organisations not. Even consipirators who think HIV was manufactured in lab to wipe balck people. Not even the Congo chimp.
In Malawi behavioural change is key to fighting HIV. If we are not changing our sexual behaviour, we is true of course, then we bare the blame as individuals. This is because the decision to engage in a sexual encounter is conceived by an individual mind and it leads into those acts that lead to HIV contraction. Why have we failed to remain faithful to our partners? Ask yourself, how many times have i cheated on my wife,husband or partner? Maybe we have not valued our lives and those that love us like children and family. The core values of family life is disintrigating by our engagement in illicit sex......with a our corrupt minds that a piece of rubber called a condom is a shield? Maybe it is time to think twice. Is it worthy to cheat and expect a recyled plastic can protect us?
All I can say is that sexual fantasy courrupts the mind and it dangerous. Its time to get serious with life by avoinding risky behaviours. We all bare the blame in our indiividual decisions.