A suggestion has recently appeared in the Press and at several Health fora, that to accelerate the process of HIV and Aids testing and statistical measurement, all visitors to all health institutions within the republic could be subjected to a mandatory HIV/Aids test, as a value adding service.
Previously, Kenyan society, and I am made to understand that the fact is true of East Africa as a whole, has depended on centres for voluntary counselling and testing to conduct the critical counselling service, the testing and subsequent collation of the HIV/Aids prevalence statistics for health planning. Resulting from this is the seemingly displeasurable fact that only 35% of Kenya's nineteen million adults have bothered voluntarily, or been circumstantially compelled to avail themselves of these services. Many moot reasons may be given for this response; fear of affront or social stigma, lack of knowledge of the value of VCT centres, apparent continued health, etc.
May I, however, contend that it is thoroughly foolish and utterly impundent, nay, extremely imprudent to presume that these remaining compatriots are of unconscious choice; that they singularly lack the capacity to express their personal preferences, and must therefore be straitened in to NASCOP's or some other Council's generous judgment.
I have an additional reason, and will frame it in the form of a question. Why track trouble? I mean, why should a sane person trace stress and duress, by seeking out things that are hidden from him/her? What one does not know, does not hurt. Every one knows themselves fairly well; morally as well as just generally. I must state starkly that sexual immorality is a personal choice; a fact that cannot be lightly tossed aside. The rest of us should not be 'punished' for keeping to the straight and narrow path. Test the perverts, do not pervert the test!
Therefore, if I am 'chilling,' as the teen-aged Nairobian would say, and am busy with my life, setting objectives, and attaining them on a consistent basis, why - of what right - should anyone: conscientious counsellor, avuncular medic or busybody statistician bother me by breaching my privacy, peace and productivity, through a compulsory test and the distressing disclosure of my HIV/Aids value?
Friends, there is necessary information; then there is unnecessary information. Happiness in life is conditioned on moderate knowledge; too little or too much means sub-optimal joy. I am happy the way I am, and would be mortally harmed by this extra knowledge of my HIV polarity. Furthermore, sixty-five per cent is a two-thirds' majority: so, what is the benefit of forcing upon us all an idea suited to a small minority? In no country on Earth has a disease, disaster or catastrophe ever threatened the lives of more than four-tenths of the population; and that is nature. Sincerely, how is this compulsive method more beneficial than nature itself? Please concentrate on the sick, and leave the live ones alone.
Put another way, I ask, is a person's peace of mind lower in rank to the state's need for statistics? Is data collected about life more valuable than life itself? Life is lived in the mind, in every walking person, while dumb data is for storage in a dump, a forgetable file in some odious office. Would you rather disturb 65% of Kenya, just for the inane sake of nonsensical numbers? Would you have a nation of prancing and prattling psychopaths, just to feed your swinish data appetites? Get serious, fellows. We have a right to privacy; a right to free choice, and the primal right of Ignorance. You have no basis for bursting our beautiful bubbles of bliss. Unto Heaven itself, the most basic requirement is Child-like faith, not crazy, groochy, experimental Science.
Please, let me be. Should I need a test, we, then, will see.