HIV: Act responsible

In the last six months, 22 new HIV cases were detected in the country.

While authorities try to advocate on the importance of having safe sex, the fact that the highest percentage of these cases (36% each) comprised housewives and farmers reveal that the illiterate are most vulnerable and much remains to done.

All the infections were acquired through unprotected heterosexual route. This just shows that while the sexual urge is natural, recklessness in indulging it can be dangerous.

We need to spread the message of awareness and advocacy. Being tight-lipped about it is not going to help. That is why it is commendable when two HIV-positive women come out about their status on national television on World AIDS Day.

In a place and age when odds are stacked up against them in the form of possible ridicule, ostracization and unsolicited publicity, these women were courageous enough to risk their all for advocacy of a larger cause.

But a mistake prevented is best. To strive toward HIV spread elimination in due time would be a worthy goal. And for this we need concerted efforts.

Imparting sex education to children, the right values to our youth and discouraging promiscuity would go a long way in restoring the sexual health and vitality of our people.

While many may feel that it is conservationist to expect individuals not to keep multiple sex partners, it is a well known fact that views that have protected the common good should be preserved.

For instance, one institution that is losing value in present times is marriage. But sex protected by the boundaries of marriage should serve as food for thought not only from a cultural and religious standpoint but also from the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing angles.

We do know that HIV can be transmitted through routes other than sex, but the majority of transmissions are a result of sexual contact.

Also, another important aspect to this issue is the importance of not treating HIV patients like pariahs in the society. The deed is done and the ramifications serve enough pain. We need not judge or act like superior beings. Everyone is prone to fall. However, we all must shoulder the results that come with our actions.

HIV is a disease that comes with many consequences. It is tough to see people suffer especially for no fault of their own. Let us be kind and compassionate toward each other.

Step one toward personal and societal healing: It is wise to learn from mistakes and act responsibly.