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Tuesday 27 December 2005
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Things better left unsaid on the bus

Dear Diary

The high rate of crime in South Africa has not only forced me to appreciate the country's public transport system, but has also made me realise that our huge population, with its vast cultural differences and post apartheid angst, really still has one common enemy ... HIV and AIDS.

While some might argue that our diversity and traditions are what makes all South Africans so unique, these ancient beliefs, however, have done very little to assist in the battle against the spread of the virus.

The basis for this theory comes from things I've been privy to on the very transport system I have come to despise so much.

As laborious as my daily bus rides to and from work are, I take solace in eavesdropping on conversations that one expects wouldn't go further than a church confessional.

Sometimes the explicit exchanges are from Catholic private school boys and girls, but once in a while, a real gem is presented by some old biddy on her way to visit her even older mother or dead sister's husband.

To imagine that old (er) people still engage in sexual intercourse is like having the back of your neck massaged with a pot scourer, but "accidentally" discovering that these geriatrics are frisky enough to engage in unsafe sexual intercourse was enough to make me want to start yelling about damnation like a fanatical Jehovah's witness.

The assumption that it was unprotected sex comes from the fact that never once was there a mention of condoms.

Counting to 10 really does have its advantages, and as much as my J-witness was raring to go, the numerical pause allowed me time to reflect on the impact of this behaviour on the country's so-called AIDS orphans.

Research reveals that older people, especially in developing countries, have now been burdened with the babies of this pandemic because of the extended family traditions that make us so unique. But with meagre government pensions, these older people are barely able to support themselves, let alone the orphans who have not only lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, but are often also HIV-positive.

It is predicted that the HIV pandemic is expected to produce nearly a million children under the age of 15 by 2005.

So, what happens to these children when the aged care givers become bedridden with AIDS-related illnesses? Who will care for them?

The government it seems, while making every effort to educate its youth about HIV and AIDS prevention, has obviously forgotten about educating its senior citizens.

But maybe these old people are aware of the risks of casual unsafe encounters and yet choose to deliberately follow the same path as their deceased sons and daughters.

Could the weight of caring for someone with no guaranteed returns or financial security be so heavy that you would willingly choose HIV and AIDS as a release?

I think not. Especially not from the fevered tone with which one memorable sexual encounter was relayed.

It must have been the longest bus ride of my working career, and the conversation seemed to grow in volume. Or maybe I was imagining it. So I tried to dig up a catchy tune in my head, but only one tune kept surfacing.

"People Are Still Having Sex".

A late eighties hit by the group, La Tour, that was also a reminder of just how old I was. But evidently not so old that I could not remember its educational words.


(Hello, Lover - Hello, Lover)

Have you noticed, that people are still having sex. All the denouncement had absolutely no effect. Parents and counsellors constantly scorn them. But people are still having sex and nothing seems to stop them.

Do you realise, that people are still having sex, they’ve been told not to, perhaps they are perplexed. When you see them holding hands they’re making future plans to engage in the activity, do you understand?

People are still having sex, lust keeps on lurking. Nothing makes them stop, this AIDS thing’s not working.

People are still having sex...
People are still having sex...
People are still having sex...

Forever Positive

Hayden Horner
[email protected]

Previous Entry :: All Diary Entries :: Next Entry
Diary Entries
Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies
HIV/AIDS Feminisation: A new wine in an old bottle
Antiretrovirals - The Wind Beneath My Wings
The Mis-education of HIV/AIDS Clinicians
HIV Prevention 101: Ignoring the Church's views on condoms
Stigma and HIV/AIDS: lethal bedfellows
In remembrance of our women and children
Maids, madams and the "terrible thing"
Internet love and inter-related HIV-prejudice
Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion
Love, lies and disclosure
Black pot and blacker kettle
Things better left unsaid on the bus
Food for thought while waiting to die
Test results not all good
Diary speaks back
The truth about disclosure
Dangerous myths and damaged angels

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