Africa: AIDS ignored

“Play sex”... “have fun”… “devil sickness”…sexual relations, sexual activities and AIDS, in common language in many parts of Africa, where this disease continues to be ignored., with tragic consequences. 28 million people in Africa are infected with HIV, 2.8 new cases were registered last year and 17,000,000 have died of the disease since its appearance in the 1980s.

A large number of Africans do not know anything about AIDS, except that it can be caught by people who are not protected against the devil. Many people recur to witch doctors, whose remedies include basting the patient in grease, for protection, or recommending sexual relations with a virgin, to give protection against catching AIDS or to constitute a cure for those who already have the disease. In many cases, the younger the better, a belief which has given rise in recent months to a spate of rapes of babies, sometimes months old.

Many Africans are therefore at risk of inflating the already alarming figures, simply because educational policies are failing.


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