Michelle Atagana
Michelle Atagana

HIV: A Moot Point

Before all of you start jumping to conclusions about my ignorance and what not; how about you actually read what I have to say…

HIV/AIDs has become a moot point of some sort in our society, like everything else in life we go through them in phases. When it was the beginning stages of the disease, there was scepticism and doubt; the phase where we actually believed that such a disease with character couldn’t possibly be. Then we moved to the blind panic phase, I love this phase because it’s so typically human to run rampant without being thoroughly informed, the phase we were afraid of those who had the disease and judged instead of understand. Logically the next stage of our dynamic growth with this disease should be intelligent reorganisation, like the way we think about the disease and our behaviour towards it and most importantly our protection of ourselves and loved ones and such. No, we skipped that phase and just landed on indifference. I know you think you’re not indifferent, you know are careful and cautions when it comes to HIV/AIDs. I bet you really believe that. How many of you mute the television or change the channel when an HIV/AIDs edu-fomercial comes on? Be honest. Tons of us do it, because we sit in our perfectly sculpted safe lives and think that does not apply to me. Some of us do it because we’ve heard it so many times we have become desensitised to it; we could probably rattle off the campaigns word for word. We hear it, but how many of us are actually listening? How many of us truly understand?

A few weeks ago I took my very first HIV test. I go for medical checkups regularly because I am paranoid and after losing my mother to cancer, the hypochondriac in me grew unstoppable wings. Everytime I do the regular tests, blood sugar, iron, cholesterol etc, I get asked if I want an HIV test and I always say no because there’s no possible way I could be HIV positive. Then a few days ago I got tested because I got ambushed and was trying to prove a point. I proved my point, but something dawned on me: what if I was HIV positive? And more interestingly why if I was so confident that there was no way I could be did I never get tested till then. Then it hit me, as educated as we think we are about this disease we really are clueless. When you get tested, they counsel you, and by the time they’re talking to you there’s a good chance your confidence will be shaken. How many of you get tested just because? Seriously? How many people get tested without the expressed instruction of their medical aid or some insurance company? Very few people and the reason for that is that we rather live in blissful ignorance than face what we might consider to be an impossible reality. I watched people agonize over getting tested because they weren’t sure about the random guy they kissed at the club last week. Really? Some guy you kissed? What kind of society are we that we either ignore the problem or jump to incorrect conclusions about it.

HIV/AIDs is a moot point because we have resided ourselves to believe that just because we’re not infected we’re not affected by it. We sit and click our thick tongues when we hear about teens being irresponsible about sex and forget that a simple cut can change our own lives. We walk around with aloof authority that we couldn’t possibly be positive because our behaviour is impeccable while desperately hoping the disease will pass us by. We rather pretend it doesn’t exist than face the fact that we are in big trouble. We have made it a moot point.