Interview with a journalist from the WDR radio – and once again I am reminded how different the situation is in Europe and in Africa. Once again I count all our blessings but also have to list all our challenges: more people on treatment but definitely a growing risk of resistance due to the fact, that medication is not taken as prescribed or discontinued for a while. And yes more people know about the pandemic, but knowing does not mean that they act accordingly. Knowing about HIV does not prevent unprotected sex in many instances, having HIV/AIDS in the curricula of schools or NGO’s or other institutions and companies does not mean that the stigma is going away.
People are still killed or silenced or kicked out when they reveal their infection – people still think it can only be the others but not my partner who is infected. People still go for a test but disappear before the result is revealed. We still have the pre-test counselling which might be a nice way of giving unemployed people a little stipend or allowance, but does it really make sense to scare the willing people off or to have badly trained counsellors – some of them also infected – projecting their fears on the poor client?
“treatment for all ” is still the TAC request – but what would happen to the health system if all are treated? I guess, it would collapse before we achieve the goal; not sure we should accept promises which cannot be fulfilled – and we know it beforehand. Let’s be honest with giving hope rather than creating disappointment.
We have come a long way since Mbeki’s stance of denial, but we still are living in a somehow tribal organized society where the chiefs are having the say – and our chief preaches protection, but handles his own affairs differently.
Somehow during this interview I once again realise how different the realities are on the different continents, and even on one continent, there is a diversity which must lead to different approaches in the same question. What is good for South Africa might not be good for Uganda or Mali.
And this obviously also applies to the handling of matters in my church – no interview without the special questions about church and prevention and my own struggle within this institution. And also here I try to explain that there are no universal solutions fitting to each and very situation – and that the protection of life in all it’s shade must be priority. No ideal, no ideology, even a Christian one, can replace facing the realities of life. Here and now, with the people in front of me, with all their challenges and weaknesses and possibilities I have to work.