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Education, Personal Experiences, Relationships

Prevention is Awareness, Education, and Action.

Every 24 hours, approximately 3,600 people in Sub-Saharan Africa die from HIV/AIDS. Approximately 22 mil are living with HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa already. The population of Africa as of 2010 was approx. 800.6mil. Question: if the virus continues at this rate, how long will it take before Sub-Saharan Africans are totally wiped out from the continent Africa? Wow, this virus would kill more Africans than Kony, wouldn’t it! However, with all bad news comes good news, I suppose? After my countless years of research, or rather the life changing excogitations I conceive before sleep, I have found the antidote to the prevention of such a deadly disease that plagues Africa today. The antidote is: The need for HIV/AIDS to be elaborately educated to people in Africa and the necessary liberality for parents and teachers to teach their children/students about sex.

Growing up in an African home, we never spoke about sex. It was just something that existed in which our parents may have thought it to be a taboo, or at least we introspected. In most African homes the children are bred to conservative, reputable standards. The answer to every question we asked was to “read our books.” There were just some things that we needed not to think of, and our studies were “supposedly” more important than those questions. As a result, the subject of sex was never spoken about. Either way, I was never the kind of child that asked my parents where I came from, so I was left clueless. We were just expected to figure it out when the time was right. The problem was when and how would we figure it out? Would it be too late by the time we do figure the whole idea behind sex?

An African parent’s biggest fear is that his/or her children would engage in premarital sex, but they would never have the guts to familiarize us with its beauty at its rightful timing. They would ask a series of indirect question in which they would try to find the answers they were looking for. In elementary school, the only thing I learned was that girls had kooties, and the objective was to stay away from them so I wouldn’t contract it; you know, something similar to HIV/AIDS. Things got real once I reached middle school. I was fortunate to school in the United States where health education was compulsory. Eventually, I learned about what sex was and the various types of infections that can be caused as a result of unsafe sex.

I read a brief article written by an MTV personality, Alex Govere, and she explained her experience in primary school at Zimbabwe where all the students were called outside for vaccination. As I was reading… “As I got closer to the front, I noticed something wrong: The nurses were using the same needles on all of the children,” I paused in disbelief. Someone can be intelligent enough to become a nurse, but be either ignorant or nonchalant of the fact that there is a possibility of them transferring HIV/AIDS from one child to the next. Then I though, we Africans need proper education to emphasize the intensity of this death spreading plague.

To fellow Africans around the world: With all being said, or written, I present to you the few steps we can take in insuring an AIDS-free continent for Africa. I feel it would only be right to enlighten or re-enlighten you that:

1. HIV/AIDS is real, and no one is immune to it.
2. HIV can be transferred by bodily fluid, and the exchanging of needles
3. If sexually active, it is recommended that you go for frequent check-ups
4. Educate yourself and others about this disease
5. LEARN HOW TO USE A CONDOM

In order to prevent this disease from affecting ourselves and our loved ones, we have to become aware, become educated , and become active in the fight against it. Prevention is possible and begins with each and every one of us. But as much as it is laid in our power to make sure that we as the descendants and people of African nations are educated about AIDS, it is the mutual responsibility of our parents and instructors to do the same. It is as well essential for African parents overseas to be open to their children about sex. What we Africans must understand is that if we don’t enlighten ourselves, the consequences of our inaction may be devastating. We need never to keep silent about this issue. If we have a question that concerns our welfare, we should be free in asking it. Most importantly, there must be young people in Africa willing to learn and teach others about sex and the severe repercussions of unsafe sex. The clocks are ticking; time to take action and do our part by teaching prevention.

-Ugo Ukomadu

Sources:
Statistics
http://www.joinred.com/red/#impact_135 http://www.avert.org/africa-hiv-aids-statistics.htm
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/sub-saharan-africa/population-total-wb-data.html
Alex Govere article
http://act.mtv.com/posts/world-aids-day-alex-govere-real-world/

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