Way back in 2005 when I was attending one of the trainings in Italy, I came across a group of delegates from Africa. One of the delegates from Botswana told me that out of every 10 people in Botswana, almost five of them were HIV positive. She also told me that people died on streets like flies with no one to care for them. School going youth struggled with HIV and ….the stories were endless. But most of the delegates who were present there agreed that AIDS virus were developed in laboratory of rich country and spread in streets of poor country. They refused to believe that it happened from sexual intercourse with affected people or from any other medium because even the most conservative tribes like Masai herders of Tanzania were affected. They also believed that rich country like USA used AIDS as a means to make some country dependent upon them or also as a political tool. The belief makes sense because the patent right for some of the drugs used at AIDS victim were owned and sold at exorbitant rates by the countries who had access to technology. It is being said that Thailand had developed cures for AIDS many years ago but they could not mass produce it mainly because of issues related to patents. So judging from the experiences of many nations in Africa and Asia, it sounds reasonable to believe that HIV virus are manufactured in laboratory of rich countries and medicines sold at sky high price so much so that those who own patent rights are sucking the blood out of poor victims.
When BBS telecast live the interviews of five Bhutanese AIDS victims, I was skeptic in the beginning because I was of the opinion that they were exposing themselves to “OSTRACISATION” but I think they had done the right thing by coming forward because they had suppressed their feelings for so long. Today there are just over 270 AIDS victims in our country and each of them have their own story to tell. But what I admire most about these five brave people is that, they broke all social, cultural and psychological barriers. The people who wanted to undervalue these victims have been rebuked in media. No amount of education will ever match the words that they spoke in the TV and above all, they have braved all mental trauma to educate people like us. So I have all the respect for these gentlemen and Tshering Choden. I hope they will live their lives to celebrate at least this lifetime.