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AUTHOR: David Udo
REVIEWER: Martin Akpan
PRICE: Not stated

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you as a learned judge – impartial and incorruptible – to pronounce judgment in a landmark case between one Mr. David Udo (complainant) and a Mr. HIV/AIDS (the accused) – a case which shall hereinafter be referred to as David Udo Vs HIV/AIDS. In the suit, Mr. Udo, a native of Mbiabong Ikot Etteudoe, Ukpom in Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom State and a microbiologist/nurse by training, is accusing HIV/AIDS of no fixed address and nationality of multiple and indiscriminate murder of persons across the world and of threatening to annihilate the entire humankind. Mr. Udo is, therefore, seeking a declaration by this court that the accused (HIV/AIDS)
Be treated as a persona non grata and as a pariah
Be excommunicated from the communion of humankind and forced out of planet Earth.
Be shunned, isolated and blacklisted by all bonafide citizens of the world

Ladies and Gentlemen, the foregoing are Mr. Udo’s prayers. And to prepare you sufficiently for the verdict of this court, I want to give you an insight into the particulars of the case:
Mr. Udo’s grievances/submissions are contained in a 58-page, neatly bound document whose cover, cast in Nigerian national colours, depicts a man at the receiving end of Mr. HIV/AIDS’ brutality – a hitherto robust, energetic and promising young man progressively reduced to a skeleton at the prime of his youth; a clear case of death by installment. Titled HIV/AIDS; KNOW THE FACTS, the document, written in a lucid, free-flowing, easy-to-understand language with a foreword by Mrs. Glory B. Etuknwa, State HIV/AIDS counselor, is dedicated to De Anna Luedtke and her parents possibly Mr. Udo’s cotravellers and accusers of Mr. HIV/AIDS. Divided into 5 short chapters, the document is complete with 4 tables, 5 appendices, 24 illustrations and a list of references, all of which have been admitted in evidence by this court.

In chapter one of the said submission, Mr. Udo gives the full name of the accused as Human Immunedeficiency Virus which though microscopic and miniscule in size has wrecked mayhem on the human population since “he” reared his ugly head in 1981. According to Mr. Udo’s document, the accused attacks 8500 – 16000 persons everyday across the world, with those in the 20 – 30 years age bracket (the productive population) constituting the main target. Mr. Udo laments that despite this clear and present danger, a good number of our compatriots, blinded by superstition, ignorance or a false sense of African immunity which avers that ke germs iwoto owo Africa, still refuse to accept that HIV/AIDS exists. The document, quoting copiously from unimpeachable sources and authorities, insists that HIV/AIDS is real and goes on to explain “his” mode of operation which entails the breakdown of the body’s defence system – the white blood cells, T-helper cells, macrophages, CD2, CD3, CD4 + T and CD4 + cells all of them body soldiers that are quartered in the various body defence formations such as the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow and thymus (in children). Chapter one of the document further discloses that HIV/AIDS was first identified among the homosexual population in the United States in 1981 and frowns at the Whiteman’s jaundiced view that “he” originated from the monkey and orang-utang population in the jungles of Africa.

Chapter two of Mr. Udo’s submission deals principally with the ways the accused gains entry into the body of his “human enemy” and documents four of them namely:
Unprotected sexual intercourse whether it be male-male (homosexual) or male-female (heterosexual) intercourse.
Procedures with contaminated instruments such as injections, circumcision, sharing of needles, shaving and traditional practices including ear-piercing, tribal marking and tattooing.
Transfusion with contaminated blood
From infected mother to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breast feeding.

The cheering news however is that this dreaded scourge cannot gain access to you through coughing, sneezing or handshake. Neither can you contract “him” by bathing in the same stream, attending the same church, living in the same room, eating together or even kissing the affected person.

The document lists the manifestations of Mr. HIV/AIDS in the body of the affected individual to include: chronic low grade fever, chronic diarrhea, chronic progressive weight loss, hair-like white patches on the tongue and sores/multiple boils as well as features of opportunistic infections but however regrets that an effective cure has remained an elusive if not remote prospect. So also is the prospect of producing an effective vaccine.

To contain the spread of the scourge, therefore, prevention remains the best bet. Among the preventive steps as pains- takingly enumerated in chapter 4 of the document include:
Effective use pf condom during sexual acts.
Avoidance of high-risk situations such as unprotected sex and promiscuous lifestyle with prostitudes; multiple sex relationship etc.
Use of screened blood for transfusion
Effective sterilization of instruments not only by hospital personnel but also by those who undertake procedures which entail sharing of instruments as in barbing, manicure and pedicure procedures, scarification or tribal marking, tattooing and circumcision.
Sex education in churches, schools, village meetings and suchlike gatherings.
And a retreat to a life of morality and decency among other.

Mr. Udo maintains that Mr. HIV/AIDS is, no respecter of person or status. He attacks with equal zeal and passion irrespective of your age, sex, religion, race, complexion, social standing or political affiliation. Everybody is at risk of attack.

Easily the most disturbing aspect of Mr. Udo’s document is the disclosure that you may look healthy and still harbour the scourge. That is to say this dreaded enemy can stay quietly and insidiously in the human body for 6 months to 10 years before he delivers the mortal blow on his victim.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the basic facts of the case and my painstaking inquisition has brought to the fore startling revelations of gargantuan proportions. Therefore, in view of the overwhelming evidence before me, cognizant of my vowed obligation to be just, equitable and fair to all manner of persons regardless of race, religion, social affiliation and political leaning; and whereas this court is guided in the exercise of its jurisdiction by the laws, constitutions, conventions and charters of the United Nations and World Health Organisation, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that Mr. Udo’s submission is true in every material evidence and that the prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts. Accordingly, I have no alternative but to grant Mr. Udo’s prayers to wit:
That the accused (HIV/AIDS) henceforth shall be treated as a persona non grata and as a pariah.
That “he” shall be excommunicated from the communion of humankind using every instrument or method at our disposal.
That he shall be shunned, isolated and blacklisted by all bonafide citizens of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is my verdict as the presiding judge of this court but I must warn that its ultimate enforcement rests squarely on the shoulders of all of us. May I therefore, at this juncture crave your indulgence to formally present copies of this judgment, with the relevant annexures to the federal and state governments via the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) respectively.

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