There have been a series of Ad campaigns that promote the idea of getting tested for HIV, telling us the benefits of knowing your status. The chosen spokesmen for the ads so far are a “funky” B-Boy and a BEE type black “businessman”; the message being pushed is that it does not matter who you are, we should all get tested for HIV, because knowing your status will bring you peace of mind. What stood out for me was a statement made by the businessman, that “he feels like he is on a “rollercoaster ride” and when he gets tested he feels better, like he is off the rollercoaster.” And a person gets the message: get tested; know your status so you can live a more responsible life. But to me it does not make sense. There are no attempts to encourage people not to have sex. Logically speaking, in order not to be on the rollercoaster ride of emotions, why not try avoiding the actual thing that causes uncertainty in your life? No longer do we hear messages about abstaining from sex until one’s married; all we hear is to use condoms and (sometimes) sticking to one partner. The imbalance is so big that more money is spent on making gels to curb the spread of the disease than educating one’s children on the benefits of having sex within marriage with one partner. I have been told that it is unreasonable to expect young people these days to not have sex, so we should provide them with a safe way to do so. Plus, some people no longer believe in getting married, but live together instead, sharing everything as if they were married, but giving each person their independence. Firstly, to think that it is unreasonable means that we do not think that the young people of today are very intelligent. Sexual behaviour, like any type of behaviour, can be changed; it is just a simple matter of teaching different behaviour and promoting it, more than promoting safe sex. Secondly, those living together and enjoying the benefits of marriage without commitment already put themselves at a disadvantage, especially for the women. If they are to break up and there are children involved, the man can walk away without any issues of loyalty bothering him, because he never committed to the woman. He can walk out anytime and even have sex with more than one woman, without the shackles of commitment – in other words, he has his cake and eats it. Intersextions is probably one of the best local programmes that has ever been produced in South Africa, which looks at how people’s sexual history has a major impact in spreading HIV and not only destroying people’s lives, but their closest relationships as well. It shows us the current reality of our country’s sexual behaviour, giving us an opportunity to see ourselves in a mirror. If we do not want to face the truth, we will continue to fool ourselves, giving more money to AIDS research and concerts, while we are doing nothing to change our own behaviour. We are not being responsible at all – in fact, we hide behind cultural practises and other convenient excuses to try and justify our lack of self control. And when we have the leader of our country legitimising men’s desire to have multiple sex partners, it is unreasonable to expect anyone else to change their own behaviour. There is no pay off at the end, so why should they change?
- WikiLeaks and The Right To Know
- Poverty: Aluta Continua