I was at primetime at Makerere University pool on saturday. It was exciting. One thing that stuck in my mind was this: D.r Musumba D.J (titles and more titles) said, “There is a box of condoms in every university hall for those who want to have sex, but what are they giving to those who are abstaining?” The answer was nothing. He went on to talk about how the media had made noise when he had burnt four condoms at Lumumba hall but when the government burnt forty million defective ‘engabu’ condoms, nobody said anything. It really set me thinking.
How many African governments do we have that a facing a crisis of rising HIV/AIDS rates due to defective condoms and are keeping quiet about it? How many people are trusting tiny pieces of rubber when they are not one hundred percent effective in preventing HIV/AIDS?
I have lost a number of relatives to the scourge and the most recent one was last year. The sight of my uncle’s emaciated body was enough to make me think twice. I chose to zip up.
Yes, you can guess by now that I belong to the abstinence camp. The problem is that AIDS is so much around us that it has become ‘almost normal.’ And people have begun taking those risky decisions. Something like “let me drink this water, if there are germs in it, I might get cholera. If it doesn’t have them, then life will go on as usual.” Remember there is also the other option of boiling the water and that involves preparation and patience while waiting for the water to cool. The bottom line here is not, “they have all drank water” but, the states they are in. One has some quality life and very sure of himself/herself and the other unsure and worried if death will come knocking.
Condoms? They come with some risks: user failure (A person promises to use it then what happens?), user error and product failure. That can’t be a solution. I chose that option which some people call impossible. That option that some people call foolish.
Abstinence isn’t impossible. The journey is long but I am not counting the years to come when I will make that ‘till death’ vow, I am looking at the decisions I will make to day. Decisions that can make me have a better future; decisions that will make me go to tomorrow while whistling. Once in a while I look back and see how far I have come. The last time, I checked my zip was up and I can assure you it is still up.