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
Today is the 20th World AIDS Day. Today is the day, we the people of the world unite against this horrible scourge on the human race. Together we can respect people with HIV/AIDS and Protect ourselves and others from the disease.
HIV/AIDS is not the death sentence it once was. People are living longer with the disease, but this has created a challenge for society, one that we are not living up to fully. People with HIV are being discriminated against and that is wrong. As Fr. Micheal Kelly puts it in the latest issue of Index (PDF) “HIV and AIDS do not stigmatise. People do.”
A large majority of those living with HIV live in the developing world but there are people with HIV in Ireland. Ireland has seen 4,781 recorded HIV infections since the mid 1980s but more and more are being diagnosed every year. In the first two quarters of this year 170 cases of HIV were diagnosed. This is down slightly on the same period last year which saw 174 cases diagnosed with HIV. For the full year of 2007 362 cases of HIV were diagnosed with is up from 337 in 2006 and 7.4% increase.
With the number of people of people in Ireland with HIV growing, society will have to grow to accept these people and allow them t live there lives with discrimination due to their HIV status.
Some facts about infections in Ireland in 2007 from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre
# 146 were reported as having been heterosexually acquired.
# 54 new diagnoses in patients with injecting drug use
# 75 new diagnoses in men who have sex with men
# HIV infection was newly diagnosed in eight children
# there were 117 babies born to HIV infected mothers in Ireland during 2007; 91 are not infected, 25 remain of indeterminate status (i.e. do not meet the criteria for HIV infection and are <18 months at time of test) and one was infected.
# Of the newly diagnosed cases in 2007, 130 were female and 209 were male
# 29 women were reported to be pregnant at time of HIV diagnosis
# The mean age at HIV diagnosis was 32.5 years. The mean age among females was 30.4 years and among males was 33.9 years
# 107 were born in Ireland, 96 were born in sub-Saharan Africa and 48 were born in other regions
# 187 were asymptomatic and 28 were diagnosed with AIDS at the same time as HIV diagnosis.
# A total of 957 AIDS cases have been reported to the end of 2007 of which 405 are reported
to have died
So far this year the facts are as follows:
# total number of HIV infections up to the end of June 2008 is 4,951
# 82 (64.6%) were acquired through heterosexual contact
# 29 (22.8%) were among men who have sex with men
# 15 (11.8%) were among injecting drug users
# 104 (61.2%) were male and 66 (38.8%) were female
# 15 (23.1%) were reported as pregnant at diagnosis
# 42 (33.1%) were born in Ireland and 50 (39.4%) were born in sub-Saharan Africa
In total in Ireland 38.4% of those infected contracted AIDS via heterosexual sexual contact, 28.2% by Intravenous Drug Use and 21.7% of those infected are men who have sex with men. Tragically 2% of those infected in Ireland are children. These are who discrimination will most definitely raise its ugly head against in future years. We must start tackling stigma and discrimination now!
In the UK the National AIDS Trust’s (NAT) Campaign for 2008 is Respect & Protect. According to NAT, “whatever your HIV status, there is a role you can play in ending HIV prejudice and stopping the spread of HIV”. There are three easy steps:
* Show respect by always treating people living with HIV fairly, respecting their confidentiality and challenging prejudice wherever it occurs.
* Respect themselves and their partners by always practising safe sex to protect their sexual health.
* Find out the facts about HIV, spread the Respect & Protect message and encourage others to do the same.
This year the international campaign’s theme is “Lead – Empower – Deliver” this is run by UNAIDS and the World AIDS Campaign. The reason for designating leadership as the theme is that it provides an opportunity to highlight both political leadership and celebrate leadership that has been witnessed at all levels of society in the campaign against AIDS. According to Dr Peter Piot, the outgoing Executive Director of UNAIDS, this year there is cause to celebrate as “fewer people are being infected with HIV and fewer people are dying from AIDS. Finally.” of course not is all rosy as for “every two people who start taking treatment today, another five become newly infected. So instead of getting shorter, the queues of people requiring antiretroviral therapy are getting longer and longer. There is thus as real and urgent a need as ever for a brilliant and diverse coalition that is ready to lead and deliver on AIDS.” He concludes his statement by saying “The epidemic is far from over, but together we can make a real difference. We’ve started now to save lives but we need to save many more.” and that I agree with!
So make a difference today, wear a red ribbon (either in person or on your blog!), talk about HIV/AIDS, protect yourself and your partner by practicing safe sex and don’t discriminate based on HIV status!
The European Parliament ,
– having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 entitled “HIV/AIDS: Time to Deliver”(1) and its resolution of 2 December 2004 on World Aids Day(2) ,
– having regard to World AIDS Day on 1 December 2006 and its theme: “Accountability: Stop AIDS, Keep the Promise”,
– having regard to the UNAIDS(3) 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update, published on 21 November 2006,
– having regard to the UN High Level Meeting to review progress on the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, held from 31 May to 2 June 2006,
– having regard to the XVI International AIDS Conference, held in Toronto in August 2006,
– having regard to the Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 27 April 2005 entitled ‘European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis through External Action (2007-2011)(4) , which covers all developing countries,
– having regard to the Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on combating HIV/AIDS within the European Union and in the neighbouring countries, 2006-2009, of 15 December 2005,(5)
– having regard to the G8 Summit held at Gleneagles in July 2005 and the commitment which the UN undertook in 2005 to achieving universal access to prevention treatment and care by 2010,
– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas more than 25 million people have died from AIDS since the first identified case of the disease 25 years ago,
B. whereas there were 4.3 million new cases of infection in 2006, 2.8 million (65%) of which were in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to the UNAIDS’ update report published on 21 November 2006,
C. whereas over 95% of the 39.5 million people in the world suffering from HIV/AIDS live in developing countries,
D. whereas there are indications that infection rates in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have risen by more than 50% since 2004, and only in a few countries have new infections actually declined,
E. whereas, of the 6.8 million people living with HIV in low and middle-income countries and in need of anti-retroviral medication, only 24% have access to the necessary treatment,
F. whereas there are an estimated 15 million HIV/AIDS orphans globally, 12.3 million of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa,
G. whereas only 5% of HIV-positive children receive medical help, and fewer than 10% of the 15 million already orphaned by AIDS get financial support,
H. whereas older siblings and grandparents take on responsibility for often large numbers of AIDS orphans, and the dying generation of HIV/AIDS-infected young adults is leaving some countries with too few teachers, nurses, doctors and other key professionals,
I. whereas AIDS disproportionately affects the generation of economically active young people,
J. whereas women now account for 50% of people living with HIV worldwide and nearly 60% of people living with HIV in Africa,
K. whereas the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will only be achieved if sexual and reproductive health issues are fully integrated into the MDG agenda,
L. whereas sexual and reproductive health is dependent upon the prevention of HIV and of other diseases linked to poverty ,
M. whereas people living with HIV have special reproductive health needs in terms of family planning, safe birthing and the breastfeeding of babies, which are often overlooked in spite of the growing number of women succumbing to the epidemic,
N. whereas the US Bush administration continues to block funding for non-US development NGOs that counsel on the full range of reproductive health services; and whereas the majority of this “decency gap” has been filled by the EU for the poorest countries,
O. whereas the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of 1994 and ICPD follow-up work undertaken in 1999 and 2004 reaffirmed the importance of empowering women and providing them with more choices by improving their access to sexual and reproductive health education, information and care,
P. whereas five years after the Doha Declaration, rich countries are still failing to fulfil their obligation to ensure that cheaper life-saving drugs are available in developing countries,
Q. whereas five years after the Doha Declaration, which stated that “each member state of the WTO has the right to grant compulsory licenses and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses are granted”, the WHO warns that 74% of AIDS medicines are still under monopoly and 77% of Africans still have no access to AIDS treatment,
R. whereas fierce competition in the generic pharmaceuticals industry has helped prices for first-line AIDS drug regimens fall by 99% since 2000, from USD10,000 to roughly USD130 per patient per year, although prices for second-line drugs – which patients need as resistance develops naturally – remain high, mostly owing to increased use of patents in key generic pharmaceutical-producing countries,
S. whereas in the negotiation of bilateral trade deals, agreements should not limit how countries may use public-health safeguards,
HIV/AIDS in the world
1. Expresses its deepest concern at the spread of HIV/AIDS and other epidemics among the poorest peoples in the world and at the lack of focus on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, the inaccessibility of key medicines, the insufficiency of funding and the continuing need for more research into the major epidemics;
2. Stresses the importance of the accountability of governments, health service providers, the pharmaceuticals industry, NGOs, civil society and others involved in prevention, treatment and care;
3. Calls on all international donors to work to ensure that HIV prevention programmes reach the people most at risk of infection, as identified in the UNAIDS conclusion that these vulnerable groups are not being provided for;
4. Stresses the need for the EU to fund specific programmes to ensure that children affected by the AIDS epidemic by the loss of one or both parents or by contracting the disease themselves remain in education and are supported;
5. Calls for all aid programmes to make sure that, once a patient starts a course of treatment, funding is provided so that treatment can continue to be provided uninterruptedly, in order to prevent the increased drug resistance that results from the interruption of treatment;
6. Stresses the need for the EU to fund programmes to protect women from all forms of violence that favour the spread of AIDS and to ensure that victims are afforded access to health services and the opportunity to reintegrate into society and to combat the stigma that often affects victims of such violence;
7. Stresses the need for an overall funding increase from donors in future years for all contraceptive supplies, including condoms for HIV prevention, to fill the gap between supplies and availability to purchase them;
8. Calls on the IMF to end monetary conditions and abolish fiscal ceilings that force countries to restrict spending on public health and education;
9. Calls on the newly elected US Congress to overturn the Bush administration’s “global gag rule”, which stops funding from non-US NGOs to any reproductive health organisations that counsel on abortion, and calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the US government reverses its “global gag” on reproductive health spending;
10. Repeats its concern, expressed also recently by the WHO, that some African governments are charging a sales or import tax on antiretrovirals and other drugs, which then makes the drugs unaffordable to poor communities; urges the Commission to investigate this and to encourage governments to abolish such taxes;
Sexual and reproductive health
11. Stresses that the strategies needed to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively must include a comprehensive approach to prevention, education, care and treatment and must include the technologies currently in use, improved access to treatment and the development of vaccines as a matter of urgency;
12. Calls on the European Commission and the governments of the European Union’s partner countries to ensure that health and education, and HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health in particular, are prioritised in Country Strategy Papers;
13. Calls on the Commission and Member States to support programmes that combat homophobia and break down the barriers that prevent the disease from being addressed effectively, especially in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam and across Latin America, where there is increasing evidence of HIV outbreaks among men who have sex with other men;
14. Expresses concern that the UNAIDS report highlights that levels of knowledge of safe sex and HIV remain low in many countries, including those in which the epidemic has had a high impact; calls, in this regard, for information, education and counselling on responsible sexual behaviour and effective prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, to become integral components of all reproductive and sexual health services;
15. Welcomes the inclusion of research into HIV/AIDS in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technical development and demonstration activities and calls for support for research into vaccines and microbicides, diagnostic and monitoring tools suited to the needs of developing countries, and the study of epidemic transmission patterns and social and behavioural trends; underlines that women must be involved in all appropriate clinical research, including vaccine trials;
16. Calls for investment in the development of prevention methods that may be used by women, such as microbicides, condoms for women and post-exposure prophylaxis for rape victims;
Access to medicines
17. Encourages governments to use all means available to them under the TRIPs Agreement, such as compulsory licences, and for the WHO and the WTO and its members to review the whole TRIPs Agreement with a view to improving access to medicines;
18. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to now recognise, five years after the adoption of the Doha Declaration, that its application has been a failure, inasmuch as the WTO has received no notification from an exporting or importing country of compulsory medicines nor any such notification under the Decision of 30 August 2003 of the General Council of the WTO on implementing paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration;
19. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps within the WTO, in association with the developing countries, to modify the TRIPS Agreement and its provisions based on the Decision of 30 August 2003 (Article 31a), in order in particular to abolish the complex and time-consuming procedural steps in the authorisation of compulsory licenses;
20. Meanwhile, encourages and calls on all countries facing major epidemics to make immediate use of Article 30 of the TRIPS Agreement to access the necessary medicines without paying patent royalties to right-owners;
21. Calls on the Commission to increase to EUR 1 billion the EU’s contribution to the global fund against HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, as clearly requested by the European Parliament in its above-mentioned resolution of 2 December 2004, and on all Member States and G8 members to increase their contribution to EUR 7 billion in 2007 and EUR 8 billion in 2008, in order to provide UNAIDS with the resources necessary to reduce the extent of these epidemics;
22. Calls on the EU to clarify that it will not push for TRIPS-plus measures within Economic Partnership Agreements and that developing countries will be guaranteed the policy space to use TRIPS flexibilities freely;
23. Supports the commitment undertaken by heads of state and government at the 2005 UN World Summit calling for universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention services, treatment and care by 2010; believes, however, that a clear plan for funding universal access should be developed and international and interim progress targets set;
24. Stresses that strong public health services, including research facilities, are essential in order to fight the epidemic, and opposes the situation of conditionality leading to their liberalisation;
25. Calls for greater investment in the development and provision of paediatric formulations for children;
26. Calls for support for development of regional and national generic pharmaceutical-producing industries in affected areas with a view to facilitating access to affordable drugs;
27. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the EU Member States and ACP countries, the IMF, the Government of the United States, the UN Secretary-General and the heads of UNAIDS, UNDP and UNFPA.