I am living my rights
Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.
I am living my rights
Stop AIDS. Keep The Promise.
STOP AIDS. KEEP THE PROMISE
It is that time of year again. That Day when the worlds focus is on HIV/AIDS. The Day where we hope that the following year will be different.
That maybe HIV infections will decrease.
That maybe HIV won’t be passed on from mother to child.
That maybe by listening people may change their habits and not be infected.
That maybe we will find a cure.
It is a day of hope.
It is a day for action.
It is a day for remembrance.
It has been this way since 1988 when the first World AIDS Day was marked.
Things are different not then in 1988. We understand the disease more, people are living longer with the disease.
But just because they are living longer, it is not an end to their struggle. In fact it has led to a whole new struggle.
People with HIV/AIDS are discriminated against. Its a known fact. And we all play a role in it.
There is in many countries, including Ireland, no legal protection for those who are discriminated against due to their HIV/AIDS status. We cover nine grounds in Ireland so why not add another? These are vulnerable members of our society. They need our support, our solidarity, and most of all to treat them as normal human beings.
That is why I wear the Red Ribbon. Let them live their rights.
The above is a quite from Dr Fiona Mulcahy, consultant at St James’s department of genito-urinary medicine and infectious diseases. It is her view on how the Government is tackling the HIV/AIDS issue in Ireland. This year will see Ireland’s rate of infection increase by 20%. This is all reported in the Irish Times.
Dublin’s St James’s Hospital has reported the highest number of new HIV cases in one year since records began, with a 20 per cent increase in positive diagnoses.
It projected 242 people would be diagnosed with HIV in the hospital by the end of the year, compared to 208 people in 2008.
The number of new cases of infections among men who have sex with men doubled over the year. Most of them were under the age of 30.
Most people don’t know they are infected, until they go for routine tests. Women mostly find out during antenatal screenings and men find out during tests for other STI’s.
At-risk groups are being ignored by the Government and they needed to be targeted in a “national sexual health strategy” as called for by the Gay and Lesbian Equity Network (GLEN).
I also agree with Fine Gael’s Dr James Reilly TD who called for a “national education campaign on HIV prevention”.
These two ideas would work hand and hand and need to be implemented if we are to make a difference here.
Of course the Government is not alone on this. A lot of current HIV/AIDS campaigns are focused now on living with disease rather then prevention. While this is needed, the old adage, “Prevention is Better then Cure” is hugely important when it comes to HIV/AIDS. As the Irish Times article highlights, “the majority of new patients did not have health insurance due to their age and antiretroviral treatments cost up to €2,000 per person per year.”
Its time we took stock. Its time we woke up. Its time we educated ourselves and others.
So Protect yourself. Protect others. Wear a Condom.
The world is seeing signs of progress in reversing the AIDS epidemic in some countries. Investments in the AIDS response are producing results and saving lives.
At the same time, in global terms new infections are outpacing the gains achieved in putting people on treatment, and AIDS remains one of the leading causes of premature death globally.
On World AIDS Day this year, our challenge is clear: we must continue doing what works, but we must also do more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010.
This goal can be achieved only if we shine the full light of human rights on HIV. That means countering any form of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. It means eliminating violence against women and girls. It means ensuring access to HIV information and services.
I urge all countries to remove punitive laws, policies and practices that hamper the AIDS response, including travel restrictions against people living with HIV.
Successful AIDS responses do not punish people; they protect them.
In many countries, legal frameworks institutionalize discrimination against groups most at risk. Yet discrimination against sex workers, drug users and men who have sex with men only fuels the epidemic and prevents cost-effective interventions.
We must ensure that AIDS responses are based on evidence, not ideology, and reach those most in need and most affected.
People living with HIV can be powerful role models in guiding us to better approaches to prevention, health and human dignity. We must recognize their contributions and promote their active participation in all aspects of the AIDS response.
On this World AIDS Day, let us uphold the human rights of all people living with HIV, people at risk of infection, and children and families affected by the epidemic. Let us, especially at this time of economic crisis, use the AIDS response to generate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Most of all, let us act now.
Are you wearing your ribbon?
Wear your ribbon on twitter also!
Via Conor on Twitter, a great online video about HIV and Stigma with Konnie Huq (remember Blue Peter?) by the Birtish Red Cross for World AIDS Day 2009.
What would it take for you to kiss someone with HIV? If Konnie Huq was HIV positive, would you kiss her?
The stigma experienced by people living with HIV and AIDS is immensely destructive and can further damage people who may already be in a vulnerable state. For World AIDS Day 2009, the British Red Cross carried out a survey of 16-25-year-olds in the UK, which showed that 85 per cent knew you cannot catch HIV from a kiss. Despite this, 69 per cent still wouldn’t kiss someone with HIV. So while people’s knowledge about HIV is generally good, that doesn’t necessarily translate into action.
Its not just about close contact like kissing the general trend is similar for more casual contact as well. For example, 96 per cent of people surveyed know you can’t get HIV from sharing a meal with someone who is HIV positive – but 44 per cent still wouldn’t want to buy food from a shopkeeper with HIV.
Red Cross peer educators are young people who train and teach people their own age, covering a range of humanitarian issues, including HIV. We can always use more volunteers for this challenging and rewarding role, so if you’d like to change the way people think about HIV, visit redcross.org.uk/hiv
So the first of December is fast approaching and that means that World AIDS Day is under a week away. This year the focus is on Reality of HIV in the UK and Ireland. As HIV/AIDS is becoming a living disease and no longer an instant death sentence it is time that we do respect those among us with HIV/AIDS and support them as much as they need.
The World Campaign also focus’ on Universal Access and Human Rights for those with HIV/AIDS
To bring this to context, in Ireland there were 405 people diagnosed with HIV in 2008, this was up from 391 in 2007, and 28 people developed AIDS. In 2008 three people with AIDS died.
The two most common routes of transmission were Hetrosexual Sex (178) and Homosexual Sex/MSM (97). So this is an issue for us all.
Lets wise up, know the facts. Protect Ourselves and Respect Others
AIDS West are holding a concert to commomerate World AIDS on Tuesday December 1st at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, Galway. Free entry. Featuring Cois Cladaigh, Delia Boyce and Sandra Schalks. For further information contact AIDS West on 091 566266
Do you know of other events? Let me know! Stephen(@)stephenspillane(.)com