Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How could anyone not know about HIV/AIDS?

The circumstances surrounding Jacob's death were upsetting. I was incredibly touched by his father's story. What shocked me more though was a conversation that took place shortly afterwards.

There were five of us sat around the fire. All men. I was considerably younger than the others though. I'm in my thirties whereas each of the others were at least fifty. The conversation started with one of the men saying ' I don't know what is happening to all our young people in this country. They are all dying.' I was stunned by his words. I knew all about the conspiracy of silence that surrounds HIV/AIDS but this did not seem like a man in denial. The other men nodded in agreement. None of them knew what was happening to their youngsters either. I wanted to scream at them 'They are dying of AIDS for God's sake!!!' but I said nothing.

These men were bright intelligent men. Leaders of their community. Well educated, articulate but...did they not know about HIV? How could they not know? Then again why would a man in his fifties know anything about HIV/AIDS? Where and with whom would he ever discuss it? No wonder these men could not guide their children. Did their grown up children, who certainly knew more of the risks of unprotected sex and promiscuity, need their guidance anyway? They certainly wouldn't have sort it.

I still don't know what to make of the conversation. I still genuinely believe that these men knew nothing of HIV/AIDS though. I don't know how anyone could not know about it but then again was I looking for the messages on the subject? I was. I listened to radio ads, read newspaper ads but I was always an outsider looking in. Did I ever have anything like the same perceptions as a Zimbabwean, Zambian or Motswana? I don't know...

3 comments:

This is Zimbabwe said...

All of these posts are very moving. I'll try and put a link to them from our site either later today or early tomorrow. Best wishes.

Adrian said...

Thanks for your encouraging comment. Such positive remarks reinforce that what I am writing means something to someone out there. Thanks for the links. Any help to add to my readership is gladly received.

Red Baron said...

As an acitivist in Australia, I have found this to be a common thing, the older generation don't really understand HIV & AIDS. My father, while not gay or positive, has only in the past 17 months, gotten his head around my HIV, he is 70 in August 2006.

I worked in a sex on site venue, as a cleaner, and one night I over heard a converstaion between 2 men in the next cubilce. Obviously a young guy and older man - I later came to realise the young bloke was only 18. They were discussing the pros and cons of using a condom, and the young bloke, said to older man, 'oh you don't believe all this HIV/AIDS crap, do you?', to which he replied, 'NO', he honestly believe it was all a conspiracy, involving some germ warfare thing...

In a separate incident, my 13 year old niece, told me, most of her friends believed AIDS was 'fixable' and that HIV was like having the 'FLU', I was shocked...

I am about educating people about the risks, and encouraging people to talk about AIDS, in public, without prejudice.