Dec 1st – World Aids Day

The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988 meaning that today is the 20th World Aids Day.

Today marks the day that governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic but so far I have seen little evidence; a solitary banner across our ‘restaurant row’ (which was then actually removed by lunchtime) and a few black and red ribbons tied by loved ones around the trees, in remembrance of those lost to the disease. Now this might not be surprising in some small towns but for Laguna Beach that was once known for having a vibrant gay population and the fact that in 2007 the estimated number of persons living with HIV worldwide was 33.2 million with 2.7 million people newly infected, today’s twentieth year event around awareness seems to somehow lack gravity and substance.

In researching what might be occurring elsewhere I had a quick glance around the World Wide Web and found the following –

– Annie Lennox talking passionately with the BBC about access to treatment which you can view at Annie Lennox on BBC news.

– Barbara Hogan the new South African Health Minister talking about new treatment strategies Barbara Hogan, Health Minister.

– A Global report that can be found at Status of the Global HIV epidemic.

– LA-based non-profit NextAid commemorating this year’s World AIDS Day by offering a slate of marathon DJ sessions from coast to coast. “A hands-on charity that proves, among other things, that ravers are compassionate citizens of the world. The group’s formula is simple: dance musicians donate time and tunes, and all you have to do is rock out, with the bonus knowledge that your money goes toward constructing an eco-friendly complex of schools and services for AIDS orphans in South Africa.”

– The Magic Johnson Foundation and Abbott Laboratories for the MJF World holding a three day AIDS initiative – 3 days of testing beginning Friday, December 1 with the launch of the “I Stand with Magic”, a campaign to end Black HIV/AIDS.

But my favorite initiative has to be that taxi drivers in Aberdeen, Scotland are beginning to give out condoms from today and will carry on doing so throughout the holiday period, highlighting the fact that unprotected sex is more likely to happen after a fun drunken night out.

It is apparent that there are still large challenges around this disease and that access to treatment is key, giving many with the HI virus a real chance for survival. As for growing the awareness that our support, money and education is still required, Dec 1st – World Aids Day may not have arrived here with much noise but it may just be the catalyst and prompt we need.


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