Thursday, 1 December 2011

World Aids Day 2011: Getting to Zero #WAD2011

Today is World AIDS Day and the theme for 2011 is Getting to Zero. What that means is:

  • Getting to zero new HIV infections
  • Getting to zero discrimination
  • Getting to zero AIDS related deaths

The first one is up to YOU know your status and your partners status and play it safe until you do. HIV can be passed on by heterosexual as were a homosexual sex, it can also be passed on by intravenous drug users sharing neddles. So be careful folks. Treat each new sexual partner with safety first, you won't know if they are affected on first contact.

The zero discrimination about HIV and AIDS is harder to achieve when you get groups like Christians for a Moral American making comments like this about the recent hospitalisation of George Michael. Yes 30 years on we still have ignorant people who think that HIV and AIDS are gay diseases. I had a conversation in a chat room during the week about people not wearing a red ribbon. Some don't wear it because they feel it marks them out a either LGBT or having HIV themselves. Some of the people who thought that love it when a straight celebrity appears in the gay media (yes the naked issue of Gay Times is out) supporting the LGBT community by identifying with them, but they seem nervous about supporting those living with HIV so positively. Of course those that wear the ribbon are those living with HIV, their partners, family, friends and supporters. At least that is how it should be. 

HIV is affected whole communities in parts of Africa. This is where the greatest number of AIDS related deaths occurs. All because the people there cannot afford the medications that many of those in the West take for granted these days. Many people can live successful lives living with HIV with their meds, but the companies who have produced the live enhancing and supporting meds for HIV are in it to make money and the Africa epidemic is something they are not prepared to do.

Of course not every area of the world is prepared to met all three of the zeroes this year. But the focus should be on one that can be most effective to a region or nations situation. All three require education to the risks that are still there and the things that can be done to overcome the stigma, the risk and the ability for those living with HIV to remain strong.

If you have a ribbon wear it with pride today. If you haven't see if you can find one (if not for this year for next December).

Finally I wish I were down in London today to take part in the World AIDS Day Swish down Old Compton Street at 6pm. However, those folks at Gaydar radio put in a little practise earlier. Now radio isn't the best medium to share such an activity with everyone, so they YouTubed it here:

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