Today is World Aids Day, and of the 33 million people living with the condition worldwide, over 60% percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This is grim news indeed!
Some schools of thought have imputed the high prevalent figures on our continent to poverty, and they might not be further from the truth.
Figure this out: The whole of Europe and Central Asia combined have 2.5 million infected people while Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and nearby islands) reported only 60,000 cases.
It is only in low and middle income generating countries that the scourge has managed to make the biggest dent.
The cost to the African continent in terms of human resources is countless, and only timely interventions (some would argue too little too late) have helped pull Africa from the brink of becoming a massive grave yard.
The latest figures show that in the last eight years, new infections have fallen by 17%. This was only made possible because activists managed to break the phobia related to some traditions.
If greedy pharmaceuticals had not held on to their precious patents and opposed attempts to manufacture cheaper generic drugs, and traditional customs not broken to deal with taboo associated with the disease, the figure could have been higher.
Access to preventive measures, especially condom use, should be actively encouraged. They should be freely available without being relegated to the back alleys of sleazy joints under the cover of night.
If taboos have to be broken to save lives, so be it. If we are to further reduce our 3% annual prevalence rate, no adult should, for instance, be ashamed to be seen buying or carrying a condom.