Did you know that? My mommy darling didn’t- wherever she spent the day on Friday she saw no banners or posters or anything to bring it to her attention. Its almost like South African companies limit their awareness campaigns to whether or not they have a lot of “uneducated employees” (and I mean that in the loosest of ways), otherwise they ignore it. Over the years, AIDS and HIV has become a topic that’s very “close to my heart” to use a cliché. Not because I know anyone who is HIV positive or has AIDS, but because it has such a huge impact on my darling Damien’s future in our beautiful country.
For a start, I have an AIDS ribbon pin that I wear often- not only once a year, and I have discussed HIV and AIDS with Damien on more than one occasion. I will also not hesitate to correct someone’s misconceptions (as gently and as simply as possible) or to get involved in a discussion on the subject if I can. In sunny South Africa, the age group most affected by HIV is the 15 to 24 year olds, and Damien is 15! And we all know how impulsive teenagers can be, let alone ADHDers! And as most of my regular readers will know, I gave Damien condoms to carry in his wallet when he was twelve- just in case you know- I’d rather he was at least careful if he gave in to temptation at all.
At my previous employer, HIV education was a huge project and I had an HIV test every year- even if I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, and now I’ve been single for almost 6 years. I was also sent on several courses and seminars in order to be able to promote awareness in the men who worked in my warehouse (for the most part I was the only woman in middle management in my department).
This kind of website is exactly why South Africa is in so much trouble when it comes to HIV/AIDS, and the government insists its education and awareness campaigns are working properly despite the fact that the HIV infection rate AND the cases of teenage pregnancy continue to escalate, which tells me that teenagers especially are completely disbelieving when it comes to HIV/AIDS! It just absolutely baffles me how our government can be so bloody complacent!
Anyhoo, I’ve lost count of the number of HIV tests I’ve had, and this last December’s HIV awareness day was the first time I didn’t have an HIV test. And the funny thing is- even if I’m sure I’m negative- I still get very nervous watching that little test strip and waiting for a result! I mentioned this to Damien, and I suggested we both go and have a test done at a local clinic next week or the week after, especially since his age group is most devastatingly affected. He said yes, he’d like to. I was a wee bit surprised- I expected him to become defensive but he didn’t.
So what do you think? Would you test your teens?
There Is Never An Excuse
One in three is not a statistic - one in three is a crying shame.