15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden…
This morning, i read the story of my good friend Sam Agona lamenting the new war of Northern Uganda – the Sex War – but the thing that caught my gasping attention was the mention of young gals who are facing the sexual front, with multiple partners, and using unsafe means, under the illusion that HIV will not kill them, if they have access to the right drugs.
This notion is galvanized, in part by Noerine Kaleeba‘s TASO Service Center in the bustling northern city, once the safest haven from the marauding LRA. Opened in 2004, the center operates in the heart of the Northern Uganda. During the time of insurgency, most of the population was living in Internally Displaced people’s Camps. The center had to offer services in a camp setting. With more people living in small grass thatched houses and associated poor living conditions, there was high HIV/AIDS prevalence in the region.
The Center is awash with Services, Counselling, HIV Testing, Medical, Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Programs, Social Support, even PMTCT – a supermarket of Health Services.
From Sam’s recent experiences, it seems there prevalence is still high, “…rate of 22 per cent within Gulu municipality alone – almost four times the national average (7.3 per cent).” I find it equally bizarre that 15 to 20-yr old are turning to sex for pleasure – an indication that perhaps the social systems are falling apart. Why are they not in school? Why are some not working? They are not just having sex for money, its the widest Sexual Network you can think of – in a zone that is recovering from an equally hellish past.
This is the most intriguing part, that the knowledge of where to find information about contraception and HIV treatment instead fuels behaviors that would otherwise be brought to an end. What is it about humans and the moment we eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge? What is it that draws us to the bad – yet God promised the knowledge from the fruit would be about the good and the bad?
To twist this a little, what is bad about pleasurable sex if you can find contraceptives readily, and have been elaborately told there is life after the virus? My own organization, EGPAF works to bring an end to Pediatric HIV – and is actively involved in monitoring the progress on the HIV Vaccine –
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but something we haven’t understood about how HIV interacts with the immune system has been uncovered with this research,” said Jeff Safrit, Director of Clinical and Basic Research at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF).
Scripps scientists presented detailed blueprints of how HIV interacts with the immune system last week at the American Crystallographic Association Conference in Hawaii. The hope is that the research will break down many of the existing roadblocks to creating a successful HIV vaccine.
“An effective HIV vaccine is like a holy grail for many scientists,” Safrit said. “Pursuing that cause is enough for a lot of individuals, even with all of the setbacks over the years. It’s one of those problems that no one has been able to solve, which makes it difficult, but it makes the scientific reward that much better.”
You have to wonder, what will the “night commuters” do, if the HIV Vaccine got to their preferred TASO Center? Will there be a sex rampage like never seen before?
Does Knowledge (about alternatives and treatments) actually lead to increased promiscuous behaviors? Sadly YES – This Study does report increased sexual activity in areas where mHealth interventions were done in developed countries. Why? Why are empowered communities choosing what we don’t expect them to choose?
…17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”