Monday, April 10, 2006

HIV? Nothing a little soap and water can't handle

Last week, I neglected to mention a detail of the Zuma rape trial in South Africa that is getting a lot of play in the African media.

During questioning in the trial, ex-Deputy President Jacob Zuma not only admitted having had sex with an HIV-positive woman (other than his many wives) without a condom, but that he felt that his post-coital shower would 'minimize his risk of contracting the disease.'

This false statement from a high ranking government official has further dismayed the AIDS community in southern Africa, already waging an uphill battle to send clear messages to people on how to protect themselves and others from getting and transmitting HIV. The National AIDS Hotline of South Africa is already being flooded with callers asking whether showers can wash that pesky virus away, and that whether it is ok not use a condom if that is the case.