World AIDS day message 2014
- Published: 31 December 2015
The Chairman of the Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC), Professor Saleh Idris Muhamed, has stressed that it was important to realize that our efforts to combat HIV which have so far witnessed impressive gain won’t bear fruitful results if everyone doesn't take precautions against contracting the HIV virus.
In his message at a recent World AIDS Day 1 December 2014 rally at Wawi in Pemba, Prof. Idris said prevention still plays a key role in the fight against the epidemic.
It was therefore important for everyone to have an HIV test so as to know his/her health status, and finally avoid risk behaviors which may lead to contracting the disease, fight stigmatisation and try to be better informed on issues related to HIV.
“If we take these steps we will be able to prevent new infections and enable the Government to divert the little resources available for poverty reduction and development projects”, he explained.
The ZAC Chairman made a passionate plea for everyone to help and support people living with the HIV and those affected by the epidemic, including orphans and people who have disabilities.
He also appealed to those who want to get married to take an HIV test so as to know their health status because this would augur well for the prospective brides and grooms.
He said the purpose of the pre-marriage HIV test is not intended to make the Kadhi, priest or magistrate who officiates the marriage to decide on whether the couple to get married or not after the results of the test but it should be left to the brides to make decision since matrimony is a basic human right for everyone.
He said HIV education in schools is vital as this goes parallel with the famous saying of “ Strike the iron while it is hot”. Therefore, the provision of HIV education in school will help to raise awareness of the young ones on the epidemic even before they are sexually active.
However, it is important to bear in mind on the need to have different curriculum for the students by taking into consideration their age and other factors.
For example, he pointed out, the HIV education in primary school won’t be about sex, but how to be safe.
He hinted that, it is important for the young ones to have knowledge about used condoms which are thrown in the streets so that they would not use them by mistakenly thinking they were balloons.
The Professor told an attentive crowd of people of different age groups, some as young as 10 and other more than 80 years old, the purpose of marking the World AIDS Day is to increase awareness, improve education about HIV/AIDS, and to set aside and combat prejudices that come with the disease.
He said, the World AIDS Day also helps to remind people that HIV is an ever present problem and there are many things that can still be done to help those infected, such as fighting stigma, helping and supporting those infected, as well as orphans and people with disabilities.
He thanked the government for its wisdom of increasing its budget allocation every year in combating the HIV epidemic, though what is allocated is not enough to meet the requirements.
He also thanked development partners who have continued to support Zanzibar’s efforts in the fight against HIV and substance abuse and appealed to them to continue with the spirit.
He also thanked the Regional and Area Commissioners, as well as religious leaders and officials of local authorities (Shehas), civil societies and the private sector for their support in the fight against HIV.
The ZAC Chairman hoped and prayed that the efforts being undertaken in the Isles in the fight against HIV will bear fruits, but what is important is to strengthen both local and global cooperation in this cause.
While stressing that unity is strength he quoted a famous Swahili saying of “KIDOLE KIMOJA HAKIBANJI CHAWA”, meaning One finger can’t kill a louse.