Just a couple of years back, being diagnosed with HIV was equivalent to a death sentence. All sorts of campaigns have been run over the years to educate the public on how to protect themselves and avoid contracting the deadly disease.
The stigma attached to the disease in recent times seems to have reduced, even though infection rate is soaring. Maybe it’s because our prophets have assured us it is something we can pray off. Or maybe it’s the charlatans on the streets and radio stations promising to have one drug that cures almost all diseases including cancer and HIV that make it seem like not such a big deal anymore.
Now what bothers Ghanaian women most concerning having unprotected sex, according to a director of research Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ghana AIDS Commission Kyeremeh Atuahene, is getting pregnant. Apparently, these days having a baby is worse than contracting HIV in the eyes of Ghanaian women.
In an interview with Morning Starr, he disclosed that “Women now fear pregnancy than HIV. The best way is to seek dual protection by using condoms. Condom risk during high-risk sex is low. Anecdotally, you can realize that Ghanaians are becoming more and more exposed to this virus. Those who are cohabiting are those who contribute to most of the infections. The people who are prone to the virus are those with risky behaviors. Those who engage in indiscriminate sex without condoms”.
Well, there it is. Children are no longer considered the “gifts from God” in this oh-so-religious country but are now seen as a fate to be dreaded more than a deadly disease. Women will rather have abortions than protect themselves during sexual intercourse to avoid complications like unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In this Ghanaian economy where the average Adwoa can barely take care of her own needs and probably had that unprotected sex to sort a few bills out, who has the time or resources to be responsibly raising children? And most men who are irresponsible enough to have unprotected sex with random women more often than not deny responsibility for the pregnancy and leave the poor women to fend for themselves and their babies.
It’s quite scary though, that women would rather spend the rest of their lives on anti-retroviral drugs than raising children. Where did we go so wrong as a country that now our women would rather nurse deadly diseases than nurse babies? Where did all the love go?