Monday, June 23, 2008

Moving House

www.standinguptoaids.wordpress.com

See you all there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Been a while

Hi people...

I usually lurk about gossip sites. I get my daily fix from that. Yesterday as I made my daily rounds...I stumbled upon MEDIATAKEOUT.

And this is what they had to say...please read the post and follow thru to the comments to see how ignorant people still are.

This will open your eyes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The fight actually got tougher!!!

HIV sufferers should be banned
Friday, April 13, 2007

The Australian Prime Minister has called for a ban on HIV-positive people entering the country.

John Howard said his government was investigating whether it could tighten existing restrictions to stop sufferers migrating to Australia.

Asked in a radio interview whether people with the virus that causes AIDS should be allowed into Australia as migrants or refugees, Mr. Howard said: 'My initial reaction is no.'

He said there may be 'humanitarian considerations' in certain cases, and that he would like to take 'more counsel' on the issue.

'I think we should have the most stringent possible conditions in relation to that nationwide,' he added.

'I know the health minister is concerned about that and is examining ways of tightening things up.'

Mr. Howard was asked about the issue during a visit to Melbourne, where the state health minister said this week 70 of the 334 new HIV infection cases reported in Victoria in 2006 were among immigrants who had arrived in the country with the virus.

Don Baxter, of the non-government group the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations, said HIV tests were among health checks prospective immigrants were given already.

Infection was already grounds for rejection on the grounds that an HIV-positive person could impose an unfair burden on the public health system, he added.
'It's very tight already," Mr Baxter said.

Many countries, including the United States, impose restrictions on immigration and visa approvals for people with HIV, though there are often exceptions in special cases.

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I'd heard about these restrictions before but after reading that news article, it hit me that HIV/AIDS sufferers are still going to be treated with scorn and the stigma isn't going to ever go away.

If they can be barred from entering a country just because they are HIV positive, then how is the western world going to claim to be fighting the disease when they give it an "arm's length" attitude. It's not like they will catch it thru a sneeze.

According to the article, the US only allows "special cases" into the country. I wonder what special cases these are seeing as it makes no difference when u're infected. And they can't be going for treatment because ARVs are now available almost everywhere. So maybe the special cases they talk about are the positive persons that are going to attend a cetrain conference on HIV prevention.

This is really absurd and pathetic.

-Cheri.

PS: Original articlae adapted from Metro News @ metro.co.uk. Additional writing below the stars by Cheri.

The fight just got tough

Adapted from Metro News. @metro.co.uk

One in five people in Britain is unaware that HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex.
Experts fear the number of people with HIV, which can lead to Aids, will increase dramatically as ignorance about the virus grows.

About 21 per cent of people did not know that unprotected sex spreads the virus, a survey showed, compared with just nine per cent eight years ago.
And 31 per cent of people were unaware that sharing a needle also spreads HIV, compared with 12 per cent in 2000.

Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: 'In recent years we have witnessed knowledge and understanding about HIV decline at the same time that HIV diagnoses have reached an all-time high.

By 2010 there will be over 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK if current trends continue. We cannot afford to be complacent about HIV education.'
Only six per cent of people could correctly identify the four main ways HIV is spread: unprotected sex, blood transfusions, shared needles and via breast-feeding.
Ms Jack added: 'Ignorance about HIV increases vulnerability to infection and also contributes to stigma and discrimination.'

But the Public Attitudes Towards HIV survey did show that more than two-thirds of people claimed it would not affect their relationship if a relative or neighbor had HIV.

-Cheri

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stigma is the bigger issue here...

I read a post over at Chichi’s in the (2nd and 3rd paragraphs) about the Red ribbon she wore on world AIDS day.

In the post, a much older colleague of hers asks her why she’s “advertising” her status with the ribbon. By this, that guy obviously meant that by Chichi wearing the Red Ribbon symbolised her infection with HIV/AIDS and positive living. This is very astonishing coming from someone that lives in Uganda (a country that has fought the HIV/AIDS virus so hard that the scars will never go away.) This guy works for a humanitarian organisation that provides food and aid to people in need. Most of these people in need are HIV orphans and victims.

Being an employee of this organization alone should bring him into close proximity with HIV patients almost everyday. And he still asks why she is “advertising” her status? And given that this man is higher than her in both age and seniority makes it a disgusting thing that he said that. I’d understand if it came for a 15 year old. But him?

Stigma is the biggest obstacle in the success in the fight against AIDS in the world. Stigma is the open aggression towards HIV/ AIDS. It is what we called “Pointing fingers” way back when AIDS had just hit. Way back when every “thin” person, or anyone with a cough or fever was suspected of having “silim”/Slim". It is this that gave the sufferers that embarrassment they suffered when they learnt that they were infected with the virus. I learnt that when u point one finger at someone, the other 3 are pointing right back at u.

Further down in Chichi’s post, there is another female colleague of hers that says that “she can never be close to an HIV positive person.” I think this is very careless and ignorant of her. It borders on illiteracy. When we were children (about 9 yrs olds) we hid from our relatives that were thought to suffer from AIDS. Because we thought they would infect us if they touched us. That was then. HIV was not talked about then and we could be excused for our actions because we were very young then and we had not been educated about HIV. For someone to still speak of such in this day and age is short of stupid.

In the past decade, there has been a huge transformation. 2 decades ago, when people found out that they were infected, most of them took their own lives because they saw HIV/AIDS as a death sentence. Infected people were excommunicated and shunned by everybody, including their relations. Suicide was seen as a way out.

When the government of Uganda fought AIDS by fighting stigma, this was a well aimed arrow. These days, many “high” society people are living positively with HIV and are well known activists. An example is ActionAid’s Beatrice Were. HIV should no longer be seen as a curse of a death sentence. It should be seen as a manageable illness. Just like Asthma.

I still think that the fight against AIDS is one that will never end if we still have adults that think like 5 year olds in this era of sensitization.

- Cheri

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Still Keeping the promise...

Thank you for putting up a brave fight. However, we need to re-arm now.

How time flies; it feels like just the other day that I talked about the Red Ribbon for the first time. And a year has gone by already. Another year and more good news on the HIV battle front. Well, not entirely good news. It’s just Uganda that’s doing well in that war. It’s shouldn’t be just Uganda that does well, the whole world should be ululating and jumping with joy. The prevalence rates in Uganda have fallen drastically from 21percent to 7 percent between 1991 and 2004. With this result, Uganda; which was once seen as one of the worst affected countries; is seen as a huge success story in the global fight against AIDS? This is a direct result of the awareness campaigns mounted by the government with assistance from international grants and donations. However, in countries like Jamaica, Dominican Republic Zambia and Senegal, the prevalence rates are soaring. Perhaps they should adopt the steps Uganda took to fight this disease.

Aside from all the campaigning and marketing, the Red Ribbon still continues to cause waves. Like the poppy campaign in Britain to remember World War heroes, the ribbon is worn in remembrance of the dead, the people living positively with AIDS and it also helps as a reminder to people of the danger of AIDS.

Teenagers here completely disregard whatever is said about protection. According to some sources most teenagers are more afraid of unwanted pregnancy than they are of contracting the virus. On a popular talk show here, the Jeremy Kyle show which features mainly adolescents with issues such as child custody, drug addiction, multiple sex partners and teenage pregnancies, most of the guests don’t really know much about HIV. Countries need to adopt stronger and more effective communication methods to get the vital information to the people in this age group as they are more in danger given their lax approach to sex.

People should stop thinking about HIV/AIDS as a disease that affects only people in developing countries as this stereotype only works to put them in danger. Reports show that the prevalence rates in Britain are rising faster than rates elsewhere in Europe.

It’s almost 4 decades since the HIV virus first hit and no vaccine has been discovered in spite of all the money and time sank into it. It has claimed more than 25 million lives worldwide. That is a little under the entire current population of Uganda. Each day, about 6000 children are orphaned. More than ¾s of these children are in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia. The statistics are sad. But statistics are not a way to win a war. Statistics only work to make staggering exaggerations.

The only statistics that matter to this fight are the increase in the number of people that choose to Abstain from sex until they get married; the number of people that choose to Be faithful to their partners and finally, the number of people that choose to use Condoms as a method of protection. As these numbers increase, HIV/AIDS will be kicked out for good hopefully.

Here’s to the continued fight against AIDS and stigma. And hopefully to an HIV free generation in 20 years.

-Cheri

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gearing up for World AIDS Day -December 1st

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, with an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.


(photo credit: Edinburgh Stop AIDS Society / SPW) The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.

From its inception until 2004, UNAIDS spearheaded the World AIDS Day campaign, choosing annual themes in consultation with other global health organizations. In 2005 this responsibility was turned over to World AIDS Campaign (WAC), who chose Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise as the main theme for World AIDS Day observances through 2010, with more specific sub-taglines chosen annually. (source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Get involved in your local community during this year's activities to mark the global World AIDS Day.