Tuesday, December 01, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

"AIDS remains one of the leading causes of premature death globally", Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General.

World AIDS Day today.

A day to think about – highlight – bring awareness to – bring empathy to – everyone who is affected and infected by HIV.

And I guess, if you live in South Africa, there is an incredibly good chance that you are affected by HIV.

Are you?

Maybe you are even infected. When did you last check your HIV status?

But this day is not about “hugging an AIDS Orphan” or commiserating with people who can only access health care and health information through our Public Health system. It is about getting a dialogue going between you, yourself, your partner(s), your family, your friends, the people that share a household with you, people at work… Anyone in your daily life.

What do you know about HIV.

What do you THINK you know, but is actually a very dangerous myth and simply hearsay.

What do you do to keep yourself and your loved ones HIV-negative or living Positively, if you are infected.

Do you discriminate against people with HIV, thinking “oh, they deserve it, they had unsafe sex, it’s the children who are born positive that I feel sorry for”, or some such shocking discriminating narrow-minded justification. A justification you allow, to passively accept your fear of the disease, rather than taking on and working through your fear, and fighting back against the disease and the complexities around it.

Because ANY HUMAN can contract HIV. Anyone. And we need to face that first, before we can move forward in our fight. And we need to accept that AIDS is one of the world’s leading causes of premature death.

Does it matter how a person became infected. Are you only willing to face HIV and support a HIV-positive person if you approve of the way they contracted it.

So what if someone had unprotected sex. At the very biological root of it all, so what.

Have you?

This person is now sick. And this person deserves health care, love, correct information, guidance, advice on the future and the future options for their family.

Until there is this love, guidance, advice, emotional and medical support, the virus will rule us.

I left all my red ribbons in SA. I feel almost manic in wanting to find something to wear to recognise this day.

Some Stats & Facts from the UNAIDS Epidemic Report 2009:

􀂃 Latest data indicate that fewer than 40% of young people have basic information about HIV and less than 40% of people living with HIV know their status;
􀂃 The number of new HIV infections continues to outstrip the numbers on treatment—for every two people starting treatment, a further five become infected with the virus;
􀂃 Despite considerable progress in treatment, global coverage remains low: in 2008, only 42% of those in need of treatment had access (compared with 35% in 2007).

For other UNAIDS Fact Sheets, by region, and the Epidemic Update 2009 Report, click here.


po said...

Wah they were selling the ribbons today but I had no change. I wanted my ribbon too.

Champagne Heathen said...

Next year I will be more on the ball & remind everyone to hunt down ribbons & change DAYS before!

Good to hear that there was some recognition over in the UK!