1 December 2010 has arrived and it is time to observe World AIDS day once more. The day aims to increase awareness of HIV/ AIDS throughout the world and it is particularly relevant for Africa given the high infection rate on the continent.
Between 1981 and 2007, the disease – or if you so choose to believe, the conspiracy of the Western world against black Africans (a la AIDS denialists including some notably senior politicians in the region) – has killed over 25,000,000 people. Over 33 million people are estimated to be living with HIV at present around the world – not an insignificant number at all. Over a quarter million deaths from AIDS each year are children born of an HIV positive mother.
Know your status
Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and a few other international celebrities have decided to deprive their hoards of fans of their twitter musings for the day in support of World Aids Day. Even South African celebrities including DJ Alex Jay and Nicole Flint, Ms South Africa 2009, joined the international drive to encourage people to know their HIV status. Awareness of whether you are affected or not is obviously critical in helping curb the growth of the AIDS pandemic. With the dramatic improvements in treatment over the last 5 years, the quality of life of those affected can be substantially improved, particularly with early detection.
Truvada, also known as the AIDS pill, has reduced the risk of HIV transmission by 50% to 73% in men. The Microbicide gel for women which is still due to be released will further help reduce the spread of AIDS. The greatest impact however will be the change in attitudes toward HIV/AIDS especially among young people, and the consequently more prudent behaviour associated with those new attitudes. Last week’s article on Wonkie spoke of the low value of life in developing countries. Getting tested is one more step people can take to show that they do in fact value life – not only of others around them but also their own.
Given the applaudable precedent set by Jacob Zuma in South Africa earlier this year (see Jacob Zuma HIV status), Wonkie is curious to see if he will join the Know your Status awareness drive today.
PS: For those readers who did not get the reference to FourSquare.com in today’s cart00n, be sure to check out the site. It’s an innovative new social network that takes the likes of facebook one step further and offline. It enables members to ‘check-in’ to various locations using their mobile phones. You can also tell which of your friends are in the area if you’d like to meet them, or check out recommendations/ warnings others have posted about things to do in the part of the city you’re in. As you check-in to more locations, you unlock various badges ranging from newbie to the virtual ‘mayor’ of a place. Wonkie sincerely hopes that there are many, many foursquare.com check-ins in HIV testing centres around the country today.
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