3/31/06

misconceptions and unknown facts about AIDS and Africa


The ASA ( African Student Association ) at Purdue held a forum on the economic impact of AIDS in Africa. I know this topic have been presented, discussed and argued to death but here are a few things I learned or found interesting. The event was a meant to be more of a "think tank" type of presentation rather than a formal lecture. The presenter admitted that he had a genuine interest in the topic but would not qualify himself as an expert. The usual stats, diagrams were shown but as it is often the case in these forums, the Q and A's were generating more insights and food for thoughts. There were about a dozen in attendance, composed of a rather wide panel of participants ( from freshman to professor, Ethiopia to Germany, agronomists to liberal arts).
I will pass on the usual song and dance about relative lack of basic knowledge about prevention, impact on labor force and costs in healthcare. Not that it's not important, but you heard it before.
Here are a few points made during the talk:
1) Senegal and Uganda have records of success in slowing down or halting the epidemic, Probably because their leaders stepped into the spotlight and aknowledge the crisis and the priority it should claim on the national agenda ( a la Mandela if you will)
2) the social stigma is as nocive to the campaign against AIDS as the disease itself
3) Fight vs AIDS will be stuck in the mud until the religious leaders are getting involved. Let's not hold our breath on that point since rel. leaders in most rural part still advocate polygamy ( islam) or prohibit the use of condoms ( catholic church). The push of the current adminsitration in the US to favor abstinence as the key to AIDS prevention is not really helping either (my nails are currently scratching the desk so hard that CSI could come analyze my DNA content)
4) The presumed more promiscious nature of Africans is a load of baloney that is conveniently spread around as facts by people who are looking for quick answers to serious problems.
5) finally, the saving grace for Africa is and always will be the empowerment of the african women. Good decision-making related to halting HIV spread will come from a more proeminent status of women , may it be financially, academically or socially.
I am sure I have overlooked many other points but that's for starters. Kudos to Ranjit for dragging us there and to the B for being in the African woman's shoes for the occasion.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:40 PM

    tout a fait d'accord naps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
    I have a tops pet products company site.
    Come and check it out if you get time :-)
    Greetings.

    ReplyDelete