Irrational approached - 1 Dec 2008By Bridget Farham
Today is World AIDS Day. Today, and for the rest of this month, the media will highlight one of the worst pandeimics that the world has seen. In today's newsletters there is an open letter by Helen Epstein to UNAIDS - a world body that is responsible for directing research into ways of halting this terrible scourge.
Sub-Saharan Africa has long born the brunt of this pandemic and many reasons have been put forward for this. But we keep coming back to one relatively simple fact - multiple concurrent partners - the subject of Epstein's letter. It is becoming more and more apparent that it is this single facet of African behaviour that is making prevention efforts fail.
I recently received an email from a colleague in Abidjan. He has given me permission to use it today.
"Last month I playfully went to take an HIV test. On the list that day were 82 of us. By evening the results came out. Only 15 had "HIV -Negative", 67 were HIV positive. Among the infected 67, 48 were women, and among these women, 37 were married ones. (Mine was negative anyway).
My new neighbour is a pretty 24-old undergraduate and mistress to a man whose wife is my long time friend (although the man hasn't seen me before). His mistress has two young lovers who come to pass the night in her place separately. Desperate to save my friend (wife to the man), I visited her and narrated what I've been seeing her husband do and the dangers she might be facing. This is what she said, " Kingsley don't worry, just leave him alone. I've got a boyfriend too."
HIV-AIDS is creeping freely in Abidjan."
We can only hope that UNAIDS takes note of both Epstein's letter and the evidence all around them.