Today, December 1st, is recognised as World AIDS Day.
Now, we are all probably aware of how AIDS is transmitted and I’m not here to teach you. (Just so you know — it’s through bodily fluids and not by shaking hands with someone who is HIV+)
One thing I’ve noticed though is the misconception that people tend to have: HIV positive is not automatically equivalent to having AIDS! HIV positive just makes you more susceptible to getting an infection and thus getting AIDS. Yet another misconception is that AIDS is a “gay man’s” disease. Well, guess what? In fact, straight women currently make up about 50 percent of the population that are HIV positive. And can you believe that the number of people living with HIV has risen from around 8 million in 1990 to 33 million around the end of 2008? And we say we are advancing. Sadly, it’s in countries within the African continent and South Asia where majority of the people are infected. And even more sadly, ostracised.
I would like to recommend an eye-opening documentary I watched recently as part of work. It’s called A Closer Walk. The doco follows the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, Uganda, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Ukraine, Switzerland and some of the states in the US. I was most shocked at the plight of individuals in Africa as well as the plight of women in India. Yes. I did say women. Did you know in India, there is a particular place (kinda like a hospice) in Chennai where they dump women infected with HIV positive??? It appalled and disgusted me. You can see the male chauvinistic attitude seep through even with an epidemic like AIDS. Mind you, the husbands of these women also get infected but go on and marry another woman and infect her as well. And it goes on and on.
At the end of the day though, it is important to not discriminate against individuals that are HIV positive or that have AIDS. It is important to have safe sex — wear a condom! And it is important to educate the uneducated about HIV positive and AIDS.
If you are in Australia, check this out for some of the events around AIDS awareness in your area.
ETA: Proud to say this post was chosen as Blogadda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks
Until next time,