Yobachi asked Black bloggers to support the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. We asked our villagers last year to support efforts to end AIDS.
This year I tried to look at AIDS from a personal point of view. It dawned on me that I don't have personal knowledge of anyone with HIV or AIDS. I suppose that the stigma from this disease is such that people still don't bring it up in polite company. However, I wonder if my experience is atypical?
According to estimates from the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, around 30.8 million adults and 2 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2007. During 2007, some 2.7 million people became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.
Have you ever wondered how people get HIV or AIDS? It turns out that 11% of HIV infections are among babies who acquire the virus from their mothers; 10% result from injecting drug use; 5-10% are due to sex between men; and 5-10% occur in healthcare settings. Sex between men and women accounts for the remaining proportion – around two thirds of new infections.
Around half of the people who acquire HIV become infected before they turn 25 and typically die of the life-threatening illnesses called AIDS before their 35th birthday.
The area in Africa south of the Sahara desert, known as sub-Saharan Africa, is by far the worst-affected in the world by the AIDS epidemic. The region has just over 10% of the world's population, but is home to 67% of all people living with HIV. An estimated 1.9 million adults and children became infected with HIV during 2007. This brought the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the region to 22 million by the end of the year. HIV prevalence varies considerably across this region - ranging from less than 1% in Madagascar to over 25% in Swaziland.
AIDS is one of the top 10 leading causes of death on our earth. Here are some suggestions for dealing with the impact of HIV in America and around the world:
- People need to challenge the myths and misconceptions about human sexuality that translate into dangerous sexual practices.
- Work and legislation is needed to reduce prejudice felt by HIV+ people around the world and the discrimination that prevents people from "coming out" as being HIV positive.
- HIV prevention initiatives need to be increased, people across the world need to be made aware of the dangers, the risks, and the ways they can protect themselves.
- Condom promotion and supply needs to be increased, and the appropriate sexual health education needs to be provided to young people before they reach an age where they become sexually active.
- Medication and support needs to be provided to people who are already HIV+, so that they can live longer and more productive lives, support their families, and avoid transmitting the virus onwards.
- Support and care needs to be provided for those children who have already been orphaned by AIDS, so that they can grow up safely, without experiencing poverty, exploitation, and themselves falling prey to HIV.
What are your thoughts on the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Any personal experiences that influence how you look at the six alternative solutions?