Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Misplaced Solution: Committing Suicide Because of One's HIV Status

When dealing with problems, we really need to address them in a manner that will ensure that they will not resurface to bother us again.  This world is a busy place to revisit and rethink of one challenge time and again and the only way of dealing with this, is to employ everlasting solutions. 

However, every general rule has an exception and that is that. For instance, if we say vehicles should not exceed 180 Kilometers per hour. Ambulances are vehicles as well but they are sometimes an exceptional case and there is no any logical argument that can be put forward to refute this fact. 

This entire clamour is coming into my head and finding its way in this entry after what a certain promising boy (18) did to his innocent young life two weeks ago.    

This is a young boy I have known for years and it is sad that his demise was caused by no other thing but his own hands and a rope. He applied a permanent solution to a condition that simply required acceptance of the diagnosis and move on with life. 

The account of this sad tale started when, just like all wise young people, the boy went for HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC). The most important thing, we all have to do in the process of planning ahead for the future. 

According to a missive that was found in one of his black shirt pockets which he wore on this fateful day, he got back from an HTC Centre where he was found HIV Positive. He stated, in his suicide note, that he no longer saw any reason to live as he was ‘doomed’ to die of AIDS.

 Thus, after writing this note, he took a rope and hanged himself in a nearby woodlot where, according to the police, he was found about 30 hours later. 

Reflecting on what happened to this young acquaintance of mine has been one of my preoccupations since I heard about the young life which the society lost in such a manner.

 Did this boy thought that every human being is immortal unless he or she has AIDS?  If not, then why did he say I am hanging myself because I will die of AIDS? Who knows, he could have died of other causes other than an illness. People die every day because of so many causes other than illnesses of any sort. 

A simple fact which most young people fail to understand is that, AIDS is not synonymous with death. This misconception is what also prevents most young people to shun HTC. What the people forget is that knowing your HIV status has so many advantages while the other option is so dreadful.

Why would someone take away his own life because she or he has HIV? We have Anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs which maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV. Many people are living happily despite the fact that they are HIV positive because having HIV does not mean you have a poor health or you are dying. 

Dying is losing your life for real and it is so sad that we only live once…Having HIV does not equal death and HIV testing enables you to know your status and plan well as a young person. Life is wonderful, no matter what but committing suicide because you have HIV is inconceivable.

 Go for HTC today, know your status and face the future with confidence!

Monday, 27 April 2015


Malawi should address the issue of unwanted pregnancies among young girls who are dropping out of school because of pregnancy. Heartrendingly, most of them do not go back to school after delivery as they dedicate their time to raising their babies and most are held back by the fear of how their schoolmates and teachers will treat them.  The issue of teenage pregnancies in Malawi has also led to unsafe abortions among the youth. 

As a way of putting an end to this, young people should be practically accorded their right to sexual reproductive health and family planning services. Furthermore, the policies that are aimed at promoting young people’s sexual and reproductive health should be operationalized without much ado because the issue at hand requires immediate action.

Investing in young people’s sexual reproductive health will greatly empower them so much that the youth will remain healthy, attain their education and realize their goals in life.
Young people have the right to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health, including the number, timing, and spacing of their children and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

All young people, regardless of sex or marital status should have access to sexual and reproductive health services, which includes access to safe, effective, affordable, and youth friendly health services of their choice.

There is also a need to facilitate the process of encouraging peer education which also helps young people to obtain clear information about sensitive issues pertaining to sexual behavior, reproductive health, STIs including HIV and AIDS. Provision of youth friendly health services in tertiary education institutions and workplaces and other places where young people congregate is also viable and cost effective 

The youth in Malawi need to increase their knowledge base on current and relevant information about sexual reproductive health.

Of late, behavior change campaigns for young people have also been neglected and the consequence of this has been strongly felt in all parts of the country and that is in both rural and urban settings.

The government and non-governmental organizations need to maintain and develop effective monitoring systems of such initiatives to inform programing and improve service delivery.
On the other hand, when all is said and done, my fellow young people should also know that the onus is in their hands. No matter what the government and NGOs will do, the youth themselves are key to this. A lot of money, time and resources have already been spent on the promotion of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and  rights but the youth themselves are also to blame for not being active.