Debunk the HIV myth

A JOKE that recently did the rounds was that more people dashed for face masks in fear of swine flu than for condoms to combat HIV-Aids infection.

A JOKE that recently did the rounds was that more people dashed for face masks in fear of swine flu than for condoms to combat HIV-Aids infection.

But unlike swine flu HIV-Aids continues to ravage the world like no other epidemic in the history of mankind.

Even in First World countries the number of new infections is not slowing down.

In South Africa, according to President Jacob Zuma last week, 200 000 more people died last year than in 2007.

Zuma told the National Council of Provinces: "More and more people are dying young, threatening even to outnumber those who die in old age."

Statistics also show that 60 percent of people die before they turn 50, including many women of child-bearing age.

As the president pointed out "we need a massive change in behaviour and attitude, especially among the youth".

We take the warning further and say: debunk the myth that it is the youth who are the worst affected. The disease cuts across all ages and classes in South Africa.

Fortunately, Zuma promises that the government will not give up on its goal of reducing the rate of new infections by 50 percent and getting anti-retroviral medicine too those who need them by 2011.

It is scant consolation.

The war against HIV-Aids starts with us - with you. It is the only way to win it.

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