[After yesterday's moping & inward delving...] It is that time of blogging again...time for a little awareness on our HIV situation & realisation of how inconsistent & uncommitted our government can be to this epidemic.
Read this Business Day/ AllAfrica.com article from yesterday, "Shocking Ignorance of Aids Within Government - Report
It's short and startling.
Basically the Public Service Commission conducted a HIV/AIDS study within government departments. They discovered that nearly 40% of respondents believe that HIV/AIDS is curable. (If you are one of these 40% - HIV/AIDS is not curable! There is no scientific proof to say otherwise. If you are lucky enough to be in the right area, at the right time, or wealthy enough, then there is very intense medication these days that can help you live longer with the disease.)
As someone pointed out yesterday, why should employees in Public Services not believe it is curable or not a concern. One often trusts one's boss or one's elders, and when one's boss is saying that HIV might not lead to the killer, AIDS, or that it is ok to have unprotected sex with a HIV+ woman (and yes, we can joke, even just shower afterwards), or that Africa holds all the natural edible substances to cure the disease that is wiping out one's community....why not believe them. (I am not saying Africa does not hold a cure, but proper research & testing needs to go into this before top health officials start telling citizens this is the best answer.)
Some NB excerpts from the article:
"That even a minuscule proportion of the public service believes there is a cure for HIV and AIDS should be viewed gravely," the report says.
In Mpumalanga and Gauteng in particular, the report found "a high percentage of public officials believe that HIV and AIDS can be cured, increasing the risk in these two provinces".
"While in some public service departments very little has been done to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS, in others there are excellent best-practice case studies of what can be achieved through committed effort."
"About 30% of government departments were found to have no policies or programmes in place to deal with the epidemic or for the control of sexually transmitted diseases.
The report said inconsistency of response to the epidemic across provincial and national departments had to be addressed.
To get back to an earlier point; And why be concerned about any of this when (my most painful acceptance yet) one's boss is no longer saying ANYTHING while his people are suffering & dying from this epidemic. To President Mbeki: A little more vocalisation on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
[And thank you to all my friends who are always sure to send me the link to any & every relevant and interesting HIV/AIDS article they come across...it is greatly appreciated, and makes my job easier.]