As the world AIDS day is commemorated on 1st December, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS reaches almost 50 million, the majority of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. There are over 5 million South Africans suffering from the disease, increasing by a shocking 800 to a thousand new infections every single day.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on innumerable educational campaigns and programmes the pandemic shows no signs of regressing. Advertising, plays and the free distribution of condoms have not made a dent on the spiraling rate of infections. The enormous cost of anti-retroviral drugs will further burden the state with a dubious impact on the current course of the disease.
Perhaps a fresh approach in resolving this catastrophic crisis is necessary. There is no dispute as to how the Human Immunodefiency Virus (HIV) is acquired. It is through rampant sexual promiscuity, either hetero- or homo- sexual, or through contaminated blood and syringes. Since this is the epidemiology, the solution must lie there.
Professor Malik Badri, a clinical psychologist and author of The AIDS Crisis, asserts that the sexual revolution is a progeny of Western modernity, and that AIDS is a natural consequence of the promiscuity and unrestrained homosexual abandon propagated by this revolution. A concerted campaign, a jihad, against a lifestyle that promotes drug intake and promiscuity is needed.
Professor Chandra Muzaffar of the International Movement for a Just World noted that the “AIDS phenomenon is tangible evidence of what can happen when the insistence on the exercise of one’s sexual rights is not accompanied by a sense of sexual responsibility. It reveals the extent to which relationships between the sexes, and within each sex, have been debased and defiled.”
Both these eminent professors point to the break-up of family life and family norms and values as leading to the AIDS crisis. In South Africa, Apartheid had a definite role in tearing asunder the family, forcing the males to work in single sex hostels far away from their spouses for months on end. This led to a serious breakdown of the socio-moral and behavioural standards, with promiscuity a devastating consequence.
The power of terminology in shaping the attitudes towards making some immoral activities more acceptable can not be overemphasized. Adultery or fornication, a term used to describe the unfaithfulness of a husband or a wife, carried a strong religious tone that stirred guilt and sinfulness. It was replaced by promiscuity, which denotes casual sex with many partners, and the term ‘extra-marital’ relations is used that does not elicit repugnance and disapproval.
The same kind of gradual desensitization of terminology was applied to homosexuality, the most abhorred kind of fornication. It was first known as sodomy, in relation to the great sin of Sodom to whom God had sent the prophet Lot (peace be upon him). They are now called ‘gay’, expressing cheerfulness and joviality, a term that has no moral connotations. Similarly, prostitutes are now called sex-workers, sex-therapists or partner surrogates.
In order to curtail criticism of this degenerate lifestyle, the opponents have been labeled ‘homophobic’. They are depicted as ‘neurotics’ who harbour an irrational fear or aversion towards an inoffensive legitimate orientation. It is astonishing that those condemning deviant sexual behaviour will be soon regarded as the ones requiring therapy!
A new evaluation must be taken, from our own ethical, psychological, cultural and historical perspectives, in order to combat the AIDS calamity. The Western paradigm propagates the weakening of the family and the full acceptance of ‘alternative’ cohabitation. A strategy, not based entirely on Western models, in which we adopt an uncompromising position against fornication and drug abuse, must be work shopped.
Professor Badri questions the wisdom of spending more money on current educational programmes on AIDS prevention since people’s behaviour does not seem to be changing significantly. If the mere dissemination of information can change attitudes, then nobody would have smoked cigarettes, committed a crime or driven dangerously.
Knowledge about the relationship of smoking and cancer has not deterred doctors from smoking, nor has the awareness of the outcome of criminal acts stopped lawyers and police officers from committing such transgressions. Changing attitudes have two other components: the affective or emotional and behavioural.
Cold facts alone cannot bring about the change; they must be ‘warmed up’ by the affective psychological state of arousal such as fear, disgust, hate or love. Behaviour is not only influenced by the expected rewards of safe and healthy ways but also by the fear generated from expected punishments and sanctions of wrongful actions.
Uganda successfully used this formula of information and the affective aspect that led to a drastic reduction in AIDS/HIV. People’s attitudes cannot be changed without governmental intervention of cleansing the environment of all forms of enticements to fornication or drug intake.
There is no doubt that this preventative approach will provoke attacks from latex and drug manufacturing companies and Western so-called human rights organizations who will vehemently protest against the ‘discrimination’ against gays and suppression of human sexual freedom and a host of other freedoms.
Western governments and pharmaceutical companies will try to push their ‘medicine’ the expensive anti-retroviral drugs, pills, condoms, injections, financial loans and a host of social policies developed elsewhere.
The AIDS pandemic should not be considered simply as a disease for which a cure may sooner or later be discovered; it must be viewed in general as a serious sign and a grave warning for adopting a lifestyle of sexual abandon and drug intake, and that even if a cure or vaccine is discovered, new viral mutations will almost certainly surface if rampant promiscuity, homosexuality and drug abuse are not checked.