World AIDS DayBy Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

World AIDS Day
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Sat, Dec 01 2007 by Iquo Essien

I'm not really sure what this day is for. Intellectually, I guess, it's to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. But in actuality, it seems like some PR move by the government. Every December 1st, I nearly forget it's World AIDS Day, even though I was a bio major in college, and worked in global health outside of college, and am passionate about HIV/AIDS education.

I forget because everybody else does, namely my friends, family, the media, and everyone in between. Which is further complicated by the fact that I don't have a television or any magazine subscriptions, so, even if there were some stories about it, maybe a Brangelina op-ed, I would miss them.

And I changed my internet home page from New York Times to Google, which doesn't even have a Google-Doodle AIDS ribbon up today. (You would think THEY, of all socially conscious and progressive corporations, would have remembered!) But even Google let me down. I guess there was MSNBC's five-part series on AFRican-American women, that mentions the overwhelming incidence of HIV/AIDS...oh, my bad, it DIDN'T mention HIV/AIDS. Hmmmmmm....seems like that would have been a perfect opportunity to start a conversation, maybe revive a dying one? Seems like a whole bunch of folks are forgetting.

Or maybe folks are just tired of remembering. Maybe even you were less likely to read this blog given its title. I mean, what more can I really say that hasn't been said before? I don't know.

I just want to say that I remember and validate the lives of all those affected by HIV/AIDS on this day. Mothers who lost their daughters and are raising their grandchildren. Daughters who lost their mothers and fathers and are raising themselves. Doctors in remote villages with no access to ARVs who can only treat their AIDS patients' diarrhea. Folks living in American urban ghettos with no money or insurance for meds, like in the developing world.

I don't know when we are going to cure this disease, if ever. I don't know when ARVs will be affordable for those that need them most. I don't know when AIDS research will be depoliticized. I don't know when The International AIDS Conference will be spearheaded by AFRicans. I don't know how long it will take to reverse the damage done to global AIDS prevention by the Bush Administration (ie, cutting funding for NGOs that support family planning and condom distribution). I wish I were a psychic, but I'm not. My best guess is, not for a long while.

But until then, something positive. There is a great documentary project about AIDS orphans going on in Uganda. Take a look below...


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