Each year, the United Nations releases an update on the state of AIDS, and its statistics are cited around the world in hundreds of reports and articles. In general, the U.N. data have painted a grim picture of the virus’s inexorable advance.

It’s been clear for a while that UNAIDS, the agency responsible for these statistics, was reluctant to contemplate good strategies for fighting AIDS lest these undermine global support for expanded funding. Frustrated AIDS experts have pointed out that, in a world of inevitably limited resources, it makes sense to target prevention efforts at high-risk groups: Although everybody in a hard-hit country may be at risk, prostitutes or others with multiple sexual partners pose a disproportionately large risk to others.

Even with the life sentence this disease has meted out, many among us have not changed our lifestyles. Promiscuity continues rampantly, which is evident with young single pregnant women and men who continue to indulge in illicit sex.

When will we learn?  We can’t say that our health officials have not been trying to make us aware of HIV/ AIDS infection and its consequences. They do so through the media, through public displays and which is so obvious on World AIDS Day, a day set aside every year to highlight the disease.  In fact there are officers employed and a committee set up just to deal specifically with the issue of AIDS and to offer support for persons living with the virus.

The disturbing news of a potential “super strain” should serve as a wake-up call for us all.  A call to stop and think of the consequences of our actions. Maybe the time has come more than ever to be our brother’s keeper especially when some in the community continue to engage in high risk behaviour because they figure medications will keep the disease at bay.  Yes, it may be so, if we can afford the medication, but the question at what cost.  The medications used to treat AIDS, as known, in many cases, to have serious side effects steadily chipping away at the quality of life.

The call is real, if you have not yet woken up to the realisation of HIV/AIDS it is not too late to contribute to the fight against this disease.  Take heed.  We should not rely on our governments to do it alone.  If each of us takes responsibility the fight will go a long way – longer than you think. It is not too late to take heed!