Dec 1, 2010

A new direction

DECEMBER 1, 2010

Today marks World AIDS Day. This is always a particularly sad day for me as I remember the people I have lost to the disease over the last fifteen years or so. However, this a new day in a different year and I am flipping this thing on its head. I need to think positive, and stand in solidarity with those infected and affected.

I do not take my life granted, and even more so as I think of the loved ones who lost the battle before they even hit their prime. My thoughts and my actions can make a difference in this fight. And the same applies to you, dear reader.

An easy way to start transforming our thoughts and behaviour is by changing how we talk about HIV/AIDS.

- We gain nothing by labelling it a disease sent to punish promiscuous and immoral people. I think we all know there are enough people dead or living with the disease that, if anything, were non-promiscuous and moral in their living. And even if they weren’t, who are we to throw stones?
No one deserves to contract this disease! And if you still think that way, you may need to look inside yourself and ask some hard questions about your empathy for your fellow man.

- I know there is a push to have HIV/AIDS accepted a long term illness akin to diabetes or cancer, so as to remove the negative stigmas attached to it, and this is a good thing. However, this is not license to become reckless and immune to the messaging about prevention and care. I have heard enough people adopt a disturbing degree of fatalism that truly saps any optimism we may have to decrease infection rates and to stabilise those who are on lifesaving ARVs. The fight is far from over!

As we live our lives day-to-day, let us not forget the important lessons:


Together we can make a difference, and reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS permanently. 


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