Tuesday 19th July, 2011
Accra, July 19, GNA – Since the HIV/AIDS pandemic shot into prominence about three decades ago, it has continued to haunt human society as the death toll keeps soaring.
Today the national prevalence rate is approximately 2.6 per cent of the entire population as contained in the Ghana’s shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA, 2010-2013), just a little drop from 3.6 recorded in 2003. The HIV pandemic remains a challenge to human society because it is incurable. Worse still, there has been little success in the area of discovery of new vaccines with the capacity to protect people from contracting the virus that causes HIV.
The crucial question to ask at this juncture is, “What causes this deadly pandemic?” Research has shown that the disease AIDS can be contracted through sexual intercourse and as a matter of fact this is the primary mode of transmission of the virus that causes AIDS.
Yet other modes by which the virus could be contracted include the sharing of syringes, razor blades and the practice of homosexual activities with an infected person or persons, as well as from mother-to-child during pregnancy or through breastfeeding, although this is not to suggest that these are the only means by which the virus is passed on from one person to another. Interestingly, it has been shown that among the causes of HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) and Tuberculosis in particular which are all forms of post acquisition characteristic features of HIV/AIDS, could also result from homosexuality.
In recent times there have been a lot of agitations going on about whether or not to endorse homosexuality in this country as has been the practice in other countries in the developed world today. These societies that have endorsed homosexual marriages have gone to the extent of even legalising the inheritance of matrimonial properties for homosexual partners who have no capacity to procreate, thereby throwing a challenge to legal brains and social scientist s. It is also a big problem for policy makers, health advocates and the clergy to grapple with.
Indeed, many are those who have added their voices to the ongoing debate as to whether or not to endorse homosexual practice. One interesting argument is that since homosexuals are human beings who have rights and are entitled to their beliefs they ought to be given due recognition like every other citizen in the society. It is a fact that the 1992 constitution of Ghana guarantees fundamental human rights and freedom, namely the right to enjoy good health, the right to good education, cultural rights and practices, freedom of speech and the right to join any religion of ones choice.
However, the Constitution is not explicit on the right to engage in homosexuality involving lesbians or gays. Article 26 clause 2 states: “All customary practices which dehumanise or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person are prohibited”. The cost and health implications of indulging in homosexuality are enormous. In many parts of East Asia and Eastern Europe, homosexuals have been caught in the web of HIV/AIDS.
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General notes in one of his speeches that, “Extreme poverty is a violation of human dignity, a threat to the right to life and a condition that prevents most human groups from exercising their human rights.” By extension, extreme poverty can also drive people to shift away from what is perceived to be normal according to society’s value systems. Particularly with the emergence of exorbitant dowry and high cost of living, many of the youth in modern times are taking to this practice in order to escape blame.
The truth of the matter is that it is the value system that holds a society and its group members together and therefore when there is a breakdown in the system or excessive moral degeneration, there is bound to be anarchy. When this happens it is going to affect the entire society with no discrimination. Such a phenomenon would, no doubt, create disaster for human society as there would be no capacity to procreate for the replenishment of population loss and provide an anchor to the growth of human society.
Many countries and states the world over are legitimizing the practice of sodomy which in itself a form of homosexuality in order to perpetrate their evil desires, and since people engage in it for personal gratification it poses a serious threat to the survival of societies and creates a problem for succession and property inheritance.
In a search for the way forward on the raging homosexuality dispute, society needs a lot of education on the repercussions of the practise, as well as an intensive education on the AIDS pandemic. Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) during festivals, durbars, funerals and other social events which of late have become breeding grounds for immorality, would go a long way to instil some lessons in the younger generation.
When children are taught to think positively they grow up to be good citizens. It is, therefore, praiseworthy the crusade being led by the clergy, the Islamic clerics and the traditional authorities to chase homosexuality out of Ghanaian society. It is the expectation of many that when the right environment is provided the youth can reorient their mindset to make right decisions that would enable them to lead responsible lifestyles.
A GNA feature by Ben A. Adom