Will the World Cup AID Britain?
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The imminent wails of a fame-hungry clan of Britons grow louder, as the countdowns' number gets lower and lower. 51 days; and counting. Travel agents are taking almost double the number of bookings they did for the whole of 2009, and currency exchange bureaus have never had to phone and order so much South African rand before.
England is substantially more economically stable than South Africa, and the news of them hosting the World Cup has brought thoughts of advancing tourism and growing profits for the country over the period of the games.
Seems as though the Brits are taking a lot to the country then, but what are we bringing BACK to the country from one of the world's most exciting football traditions?
Although many governments in Sub-Saharan Africa have on several occassions denied the widespread problem of AIDs since the outspread of the disease in 1980, they are finally realising the harsh truth that is; it's an epidemic that is getting worse and worse.
South Africa has the highest rates of HIV/Aids, with over 250,000 people dying from it in 2008, there are an estimated 5.2 million currently living with the disease in South Africa alone. Certain age ranges are particularly high, and 1 in 4 women aged 25-29 are living with HIV. This is also the standard age of female prostitutes in South Africa.
HIV is the infection that leads to the AIDs disease, (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) attaches a lot of social stigma to it which is a contributing factor to its spread. Admittance that HIV actually does cause AIDs is something that both Thabo Mbeki (former president of South Africa) and Robert Mugabe (current president of Zimbabwe) have not done. They believe that AIDs stems from poverty rather than HIV, a theory that is misguided, as although poverty plays a huge role in the spread of the STI (sexually transmitted infection) it is by no means the cause.
Other stigmas include conspiracy theories that the use of condoms to protect against HIV is actually just the governments' tactic to controlling the growth of the African population. Some men in African tribes also believe that condoms are an insult to the traditional power of a man in his community. Contraception is however one of the only forms of protection against the disease. Aids can be passed on through sexual intercourse with an infected person, through sharing needles with infected people, and can be passed to children if they are born of an infected mother, or fed the milk of an infected woman.
The daunting thought of thousands of testosterone-filled men visiting a foreign country on the holidays of their lifetimes, either on a high from winning or on a come down from the buildup of adrenaline of the match, should inject fear into health organisations up and down the country.
There is no denying that England is a country that thrives on sex. The media is bombarded with advertisements either quite clearly explicitly showing naked women on screen or implying connotations after innuendos, after sexual suggestions. The reality is, the men visiting the country will be looking to have a good time, and it takes even the most innocent of minds to imagine exactly how that good time will be had.
So, what do we do? Send flyers out to every prospective traveler like we did during the Swine Flu pandemic? Or give out advisable forms of protection along with boarding passes at the airport? The men travelling to South Africa are adults. They are not teenage students at drunken house parties, nor are they sluggish chauvinists looking to take advantage of women (we hope). We expect them to fend for themselves, and act in a responsible and mature way. Because with the problems the country is facing at the moment; a dysfunctional parliament, a war in Iraq, and an economic state that would make even the greatest lovers of England emigrate to Australia; a major health crisis is the last thing Britain needs.
For travel information and advice to South Africa, please see various articles about safety in South Africa at; www.direct.gov.uk
For advice or further information on protection from AIDs/HIV visit:www.avert.org/aids