We better stop fooling ourselves when it comes to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda. The other day on the evening news there was talk of a concern on how Uganda seems to be losing this fight and how we can get back on track.
Which had me remembering sometime in 2016 when I stumbled on a late programme on one local radio station. The presenter (a man) wanted only ladies to call in and answer a question along the lines of ‘what would you prefer? Get infected with the HIV virus or getting pregnant?’ And the answers he got were both shocking and more of a mockery. The ladies called in and I recall every answer sounded something like ‘I would rather be sick with HIV/AIDS than get pregnant’.
Let’s be honest—this kind of answer, trend and attitude presents us with a horrid turn of events. Things are not as we expected. Some blame it on the ARVs, claiming they have given many the false hope or feeling or ‘not-being-really-sick’, it has removed the old feeling of ‘scare’ from HIV/AIDS. Others explain that the level of unemployment and financial difficulties are causing many young ladies (most of which are university students and women in their 30s and 40s) to engage in prostitution as a livelihood and so have no business getting pregnant as it would stand in their way of ‘financial survival’. A few will say that the rising tide of fear for responsibility and children (or products of broken homes, polygamous families, absentee fathers) has discouraged many from desiring to get into the respected family life and marital commitment so the choice of careless living, promiscuity (multiple sexual partners), no-strings-attached kind of relationships and the new hopeless trend of open relationships, are making many to choose this pathetic road.
To be honest I don’t have much to say on this realization and painful confession from some of the ladies in this country. These few lady callers speak for millions (including some men who have got onto the ‘choose HIV/AIDS bandwagon).
Did someone once define ‘madness’ as doing the same thing over again and expecting different results? Well, if we continue addressing the HIV/AIDS problem the way we have then failure is guaranteed—our methods may have worked once and in the past but not anymore. The HIV/AIDS reality has become more complex and twisted—we need to find out how many people are having this mindset and what has caused them to reason this way. Then we will know better how to deal with the nightmare—the mindset on HIV/AIDS—not the disease.
By the way, I listened in to this programme while expecting my first child and I would love everyone out there who has this mindset to know that pregnancy (expecting a new little life) is incomparably freeing, fulfilling, liberating, joyous, and special. It is way way out of HIV/AIDS’ league.