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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

1st HIV/AIDS Communications Survey 2006

I attended the report-back of the 1st South African National HIV/AIDS Communications Survey 2006.

Several institutions, together with USAID and the South African government and its Khomanani program completed a survey on the understanding of HIV/AIDS among South Africans. It also included the sexual behaviour of South Africans. In this program of fighting HIV/AIDS in South Africa, several TV programs such as Tsha Tsha by Cadre and Soul City, and radio programs were developed. Other major players in this survey are USAID, Health Communication Partnership together with Johns Hopkins University. This survey attempted to find out how successful these TV and radio programs are.

The problem with the TV programs is that every single TV and radio program used in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in South Africa was made from a liberal worldview. What is this worldview? A worldview that sex before marriage is OK, as long as condoms are used!

The researchers have found that there is still a stigma attached to HIV/AIDS as a result of sinning. This they saw as essentially nonsense. This, notwithstanding the fact that the majority of infections are still related to illicit sex! How is this stigma simply nonsense? HIV/AIDS as a result of sinning is simply seen as a negative stigma that should be done away with.

In my opinion, this whole survey is meant to see how many people use condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS. It obviously does not see any other method of prevention as justified or even to be usable. In the Khomanani program, with all these participating TV and radio programs, a change of behaviour is seen as using condoms during sex instead of not using them. The researchers do not see that using a condom is not a change of behaviour, but simply a change of the packaging of the tools of the "trade," so to speak. A change of behaviour would be to stop having illicit sex outside of marriage!

In this workshop, the ABCs of HIV/AIDS is being referred to as the "traditional" method of prevention. This referral as "traditional" is used in a derogatory manner since emphasis is heavily on condom use. As a result, a lifestyle of free sex is condoned and even preferred. They may claim that this is not true, yet I still have to hear anyone of them come out strongly in favour of complete abstinence. Oh, yes, free sex with condoms is preferred!

I am not a statistician, but when the control group is 7006 people (ages 15-65) from a possible +-29,400,000, how can the results be used to correlate to a percentage of the 29,400,000? 7006 is only 0.024% of the 29,400,000. How can 0.024% be called a nationally representative group?

In reducing sexual partners to '0', many women discovered that their HIV/AIDS infections did not decrease. My question is, how many of these women were already infected? What else did they do to expose themselves to the virus if they were not infected already? Did they really abstain?

These programs wonder why virgins are being laughed at. Isn't it obvious? They perpetuate the idea of free sex (by just using a condom) and then wonder why virgins are laughed at. In fact, virgins should be laughing at those that are no longer virgins. Those that are no longer virgins are used goods. Like a second-hand car. The value has decreased! How can anyone be so stupid in this day and age to continue sexual activity when it is so easy to contract HIV/AIDS?

Among the 14 respondents in a set of interviews, it seems that they simply have no moral base. Among these 14 interviewees, only 3 of them have only had 1 lifetime sexual partner. The others range from 2 to 25, to not being able to remember how many sexual partners they have been involved with. These interviewees had sex for all kinds of reasons. Reasons such as:

  • love
  • fun
  • belonging to a group
  • status
  • access to money and resources
  • proving oneself
  • passing the time.

Does this suggest any kind of moral knowledge of right and wrong? Certainly NOT!

This report suggests that these respondents

  1. have no morals and do not understand right from wrong, and
  2. have exceedingly weak characters. They seem not to be able to stand on their own feet and make decisions for themselves based on their own values, if such values do exist.

An interesting aspect of this survey is that it did not target, in my opinion, the group with the greatest risk of spreading and of being infected by HIV/AIDS: homosexuals. Studies have shown that homosexuals remain the most sexually active and deviant group of all sexually active groups. Why were homosexuals not targeted in this survey? It may be that homosexuals have become a preferred group in South Africa and the authorities decided not to target them specifically.

A comment was made that HIV/AIDS is not a simple epidemic. This is true. However, programs such as that led by Khomanani make it difficult for themselves by speaking with a forked tongue. On the one hand they proclaim the risk of HIV/AIDS with a primary method of spreading via sex, yet on the other hand they still say it is acceptable to have sex outside of marriage. Currently, there is absolutely no 100% sexually-preventable solution against HIV/AIDS except abstinence. However, abstinence is not abstinence when one abstains sexually between regular partners. Abstinence is only abstinence when sex is being abstained from all of the time until marriage. There is perhaps a problem with those who have been infected with HIV/AIDS before total abstinence, however, that does not prevent someone to abstain totally after infection until marriage and then taking the proper precautions after marriage to minimize the risk of infection for the marriage partner.

One speaker said that abstinence is not a viable message since many only get married later rather than sooner. What does the age of marriage have to do with sexual activity? The problem is that if we do not do something about the moral fiber of our nation and teaching people the most powerful word "NO," then our epidemic will not cease.

Of course, this would mean that our nation must be taught about morals, and this is (it seems) by definition unacceptable to groups like USAID and the government and its sex-propagation partners!

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