Today is World Aids Day. Twenty-five years after clinical evidence of the HIV/AIDS disease process was first reported.
Eighteen years after the first World Aids Day, it's important to keep reminding ourselves about HIV/AIDS issues, the need for support and understanding for people living with HIV/AIDS and to continue to push forward with the development of education and prevention initiatives.
Particularly when, at a time where it seems nearly every cause has a ribbon, the AIDS cause appears to be floundering.
Last year, the Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) reported one of its lowest responses to World AIDS Day events, including the iconic Red Ribbon Appeal.
“We certainly had a low last year and it was a real struggle to get
people to come forward to be volunteers to sell red ribbons or
even getting people to buy red ribbon.”
ACON chief executive Stevie Clayton.
Yet recent figures released by the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research show that HIV rates have increased by 41% in Australia over the past five years. The reality is, even in this country, people are still dying from AIDS-related conditions.
The theme for the Australian World AIDS Day campaign is: ‘HIV/AIDS: Let’s talk about it: many faces, different stories’. The key message is intended to be inclusive of all Australians, not just those most at risk of HIV infection, in order to promote understanding of HIV/AIDS as an issue that affects everyone in the community. Take time to read some personal stories here.
On a lighter note, among the activities planned, this Guinness World Record attempt caught my attention.
Today Thailand aims to boost acceptance of condom use with the "longest condom chain" at the "Condom Chain of Life" festival. The goal is to link 25,000 condoms. The effort will be led bythe appropriately named "Mr. Condom", UN Aids special representative and national Aids activitist Mechai Viravaidya.
AIDS. In whatever form activities take today, World AIDS Day offers an opportunity to point out the reality that HIV is still with us.
What's going on in your part of the world?