An Increase of HIV incidence

23 06 2014

The doctor was at her usual post at the HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. She came into the waiting room and saw a number of young innocent looking girls in the age group of 15 to 18 year ages who had all tested positive for HIV. She needed to know what the cause was for this sudden increase in the incidence of this age group.

The answers were varied.

Some believed that the threat of death was no longer an issue.                        gingerbread-fadeAnti retroviral therapy could save lives and they could live a ‘normal life’. In fact they believed that HIV was no worse than a common cold or maybe diabetes.

Some told the doctor that they had been raped & that was how they had contracted the virus.

Then the ugly head of poverty was once again brought to the fore. A positive HIV test brought the government grant and to young girl who has nothing any money is better than no money. There were a few girls who had relationships with older men for financial gain or worldly goods. In most cases the girls had no ‘power’ to insist on condom use.

The story that made the most impression on the doctor & brought her close to tears was the young girl who related how she was infected. Her father had paid a HIV positive man to impregnate her and to pass on the virus. He wanted her HIV positive so that he could have her government grant.

A recent report in the Mail & Guardian stated that the teen and early twenty incidence was not stabilized but showed an increase.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

We need to go back to the schools and provide intense  education.

We need to rethink the government grants & other possibilities.

We need to provide counselling to sexually active couples.

We need to lessen the desperation of the poverty stricken people in our communities so that they can be employable & provide for their families legally.

We need to be more creative & remember that these young people are the future of leaders of the next generation

Where there is a will, there is a way!

 

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3 responses

23 06 2014
Will van der Walt

Very important information, indeed. I really like the narrative form, with a beginning, middle and end. Nicew to see you back in the saddle, Sister Denton.

26 06 2014
Abraham Oluwafemi @ smartfem

Ignorance kills faster than this pandemic. And the only weapon to counter it effect is knowledge via awareness, educating all and sundry, more sentisization and other ways through which this pandemic can be brought to the possible minimal. Ignorance is darkness and knowledge is light. He/she that is not informed is deformed. So everyone must take it up as a challenge; fight, battle and combat it by spreading the news and not the virus.

6 07 2014
Teresa Denton

Thank you Abraham for your comment. We are aware that education is the answer, but both educators & the public in general have slipped up. HIV is no longer considered a ‘death sentence’ because of anti retro viral therapy so the level of education has dropped. We need to get back to basics.

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