Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 10 April 2006

HIV/AIDS - A weapon of mankind destruction.


By Nhial Titt Nhial*

April 9, 2006 — HIV/AIDS is a weapon of mankind destruction. It has killed more than 25 million people worldwide according to UNAID and WHO reports since the 1st of December 1981 when it was first recognized. More than 40 million people are said to be today living with it worldwide. This makes it the worst recorded pandemic in the history of pandemics against mankind. In 2005 alone, it was reported to have killed between 2.8 to 3.6 million people with more than 57000 as children. The great number of these people killed is from the sub Saharan Africa.Who do we call an enemy? Is it not the one that aims to destroy our existence?

HIVAIDS is not only an enemy but it is also an archenemy that should be fought with bravery and valor and in a soldierly manner. Mankind has been having enemies both among themselves and from diseases and poverty but there has never been an enemy that pushes it to a point of extinction. We are swift to have weapons of mass destruction to fight enemies among ourselves but we seem to fail to fight an archenemy that threatens our existence as mankind. This enemy knows neither difference between black and white nor religion of Islam and Christianity.It is against all of us as human family. We should fight it with vigorous effort. We should be armed to teeth to fight it in a collective and soldierly manner. We should be expected to be good soldiers. A good soldier goes to the battlefield with full knowledge of the type of weapons of his/her opponents and the wounds that the weapons will inflict on him/her. A successful and great soldier will always know that factor and will always try to make sure that he/she is not killed or wounded. He/she protects him/herself with great care and great bravery while aiming at killing and defeating his/her enemy.

In my opinion, an individual should make sure that he/she does not either get the virus or transmit it to other individual. An individual can make sure that he/she does not either get the virus or transmit it to other individuals by using some of the most appropriate methods of prevention. In my last article, "HIV/AIDS: just only ABC and the battle is won" I stressed the usefulness of effectively applying ABC Approach in combating the pandemic.ABC approach is one of the tools among other tools individuals can use to prevent the virus. Here is a matter of not trusting anything expected to be HIV carrier. These can possibly be you, your partner, and penetrative instruments such as injection needles, surgical instruments, and village rite instruments among others.

HIV viruses are like the imperialistic occupying forces looking for territory to establish their empire. They fight and kill using the weapons that are unprecedented in the history of human viruses. They overrun the protective forces of the kingdom of human body using their sophisticated and most advanced weapons of mankind destruction. Their strength has no matching with the strength of the royal soldiers of the kingdom - white blood cells. They defeat easily the royal gallant soldiers and establish their empire and carry out crack down on any insurgency from some of the notorious white blood cells that insist in defying the orders of the occupying forces by fighting back.

While the transmission through sexual contact is still widely considered a major factor worldwide, a research in the USA has shown that transmission through injection drug use (IDU) or intra-venous injection (IV - injection) is also increasing at an alarming rate. It accounts for 36% of the AIDS cases in the United States of America.
Here the needles through IV-injection become one of the main factors of transmission. The drug addicts use drugs illegally. As a result, they do not have access to enough and clean needles. They share the same needles. This passes the virus in several ways: The first way is that the virus gets transmitted through the same needles they share. The second one is that they are influenced by drugs to become unconscious of using safe sex. The third one is the fact that this category of people is said to be having sex frequently and more carelessly with any individual than any other group.

In Sudan, there are many ways rarely found elsewhere in the world where the virus can be passed. Some African cultures and traditions are among the major ways considered to spread infection. Sudan is one of the regions in Africa with a conservative rural based population that is still widely practicing those cultures. These cultures are marriage of many wives, the deceased wife inheritance, unhygienic performance of conservative ritual such as circumcision, removal of lower teeth, scarifications etc. Although, there is no clear research that proves these practices as the major ones promoting the spread of HIV/AIDS, they are considered as one of the main ways through which HIV/AIDS can spread now in Sudan where these methods are still practiced unhygenically. Ignorance in Sudan is considered also as one of the major factors. A villager in Sudan does not know what HIVAIDS is. Culture also makes people shy away from discussion HIVAIDS and make good awareness on it. This is because it relates to sex. Mentioning sex in public discussion in Sudan is considered among most communities in Sudan as a taboo.

Traditional rites such as circumscion, scarification, and removal of lower teeth are performed in a group. A traditional specialists who have limited knowledge on health problems that may result, use the same ritual instrument on the whole group of boys or girls. If the first boy or girl happens to be HIV positive, all individuals in the group can be infected.

The virus can be transmitted to an individual through marrying many wives, by the fact that either the second or first or third wife may happen to have been a HIV positive before marriage. If one marries her, the rest of the other individual wives can get the virus together with the husband.

These are considered to be mass transmission of the virus (MTV). For example, one hundred individual boys or so during the initiation ceremony through either circumscion or scarification or lower teeth removal can have high chances of getting the virus in a matter of one hour of ritual performance.

If individual fights well to keep off the invasion forces of HIV/AIDS, the whole problem can be effectively controlled. The individuals should make themselves good soldiers. A good soldier must make sure that he/she knows the war zone and treads carefully. You can not go to a dangerous place without protective tools such as weapons and protective covers like bullet prove clothing, helmets among others if you are a real soldier. You can not also approach the enemy while in undefensive position unless you are not a true soldier. In fact a wise, successful and true soldier is always suspicious even though he/she knows that the zone is free of enemy. Do not think of the fact that you pass in that place yesterday and conclude that it may be free of the enemy. True soldiers are suspicious even of their own comrades in arms. In this case; there is no need of trusting any creature. Use the appropriate defensive method that can protect you.

HIV/AIDS has no existing cure but there are several ways it can effectively be controlled. After all, common adage has it that prevention is better than cure. If an individual has enough prevention mechanism, there is optimism that the virus can be triumphed upon by the mankind.

The combination of ABC and CNN approaches can help give effective prevention against the virus. Although ABC and CNN approaches have generated a great deal of debate among the experts and individuals concerned on which is the effective way of preventing HIVAIDS, there is a common ground that the use of both method can do better than using one.

CNN stands for Condoms, Needles, and Negotiation. The approach is aimed at promoting the use of condoms, clean needles and skillful negotiation. The Condom is to prevent the virus through sexual contacts while clean needle is to prevent the virus through injection and other penetrative instruments. The skilful negotiation is to allow sex partners to negotiate for a safe sex.

The individual can adopt ABC and CNN as protective measures. Individual health matters. It is the individual who in turn passes the virus on to an other person, which makes it a big threat to consume the whole mankind. One should begin with him/herself to avoid getting the problems. After all, you do have absolute chances of not getting the virus if you abstain, be faithful to your spouse, use condom, make sure you use clean needles, negotiate for a safe sex.

* The writer is a Sudanese resident in Canada.
He can be reached at nhialtitt@yahoo.ca

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