Thursday, November 30, 2006

HIV/AIDS by the numbers

Friday, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. Let's keep the promise, and end this disease. This is not a Gay disease. This is not the disease of IV Drug users. This is a disease that knows no boundaries, and is everyone's responsibility. Here are some facts:

15 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. That's more than the combined total of all the children under the age of five in 48 of the 50 states in the U.S.

96 percent of all HIV cases are in the developing world.

25 million in Sub-Saharan Africa are HIV positive.

Every 60 seconds a child dies of HIV/AIDS related diseases.

14,000 people contract HIV worldwide every day.

75 percent of all the young people infected are women and girls.

Since HIV was first identified a quarter of a century ago, it has been a stigmatised disease, resulting in silence and denial. Every day someone with HIV experiences discrimination at work, in healthcare and among family and friends. Stigma discourages people from testing for HIV or disclosing their status to their partner, which fuels the spread of the disease.

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Anonymous said...

Well said. Here's to hoping the cure is right around the corner, and I honestly believe that it is.

Tina said...

Amen Diva! Absolutely we need to talk about HIV/ AIDS and how poorly America and especially our "religious groups" handle the disease.

When Pope JPII died in 2005, I posted a cartoon of a priest standing next to a very pregnant Grim Reaper who had AFRICA written across his belly and AIDS written across his scythe. Underneath it I said this: The most reproachful and discouraging aspect of our beloved Pope's beliefs and Catholic doctrine.
I was scolded for posting that by a person who claimed that my post was in bad taste.
My terse response was this:
"I'm sorry that you feel that I meant this political cartoon to be in bad taste. I certainly did not mean it that way.
the hard facts about HIV transmission in Africa speak volumes about the ridiculous stance the Church takes on the use of artificial methods of birth control and condoms. The facts: 29 million sub-Saharan Africans between the ages of 15 to 49 are infected w/ HIV. Every year, almost 1 million babies are born HIV positive in sub-Sahara Africa. Almost 15 million sub-Saharan children are maternal orphans due to the mothers dying from HIV/AIDS. What happens to these orphans? Are they rescued by orphanages and fed and loved? NOPE. In fact, most are cared for by their own remaining siblings and/or extended family members if they are alive and/ or can afford to take care of the orphans, put to work as child laborers, and of course, there are child predators who use them as prositutes, sex slaves, unwilling soldiers and militias, and child brides. Their parents aren't around, so who protects them from such things? NOBODY, and these nations are so poor and over populated, who has the time, resources, or ability to feed, educate, house, & care for most children, let alone orphaned kids? B/c people w/HIV / AIDS have such compromised immune systems, there is a giant rise in tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is an air-born spread infection, so, even if you were lucky enough to avoid catching HIV, you might end up getting infected w/ tuberculosis instead.
Do you know how awful TB is? You end up coughing the lining of your lungs up little by little until your merciful death ends the pain, and of course, by violent coughing... you further spread the air-born TB infection.
So, if you ask me, the Church and the Pope's refusal to allow the use of artificial methods of birth control and condoms is the only responsible, loving, caring, and truly PRO LIFE stance one could have in Africa. Do you know what is in bad taste? It is in bad taste to encourage the spread of a highly fatal disease on a continent that has the distinction of having 80% of the world's deaths from HIV/ AIDS. AIDS is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa for people aged 15 to 49, causing 1 of every 5 deaths. By teaching people that they are sinning by using birth control and condoms, the Church is encouraging people to take zero precautions to spread a fatal disease and create more HIV positive babies,(and most of these babies, by the way, die very horrific deaths b/c they cannot receive the medicine cocktails that could help them live longer lives). This goes beyond maintaining Church teachings and doctrine that are clearly out of touch when it comes to a modern day medical crisis... it is reprehensible, irresponsible, and probably even immoral."

I stand by that response to this day, as well, as a Catholic, mother, and concerned human being.

Frederick said...

Not talked about enough.

DivaJood said...

Kvatch, you are very hopeful for an amphibian, really! But I'm right there with you. I believe it will be contained. We are closer to a vaccine, which is essential.

Tina, well done. I recall the cartoon, I saw it elsewhere - and your response to the commenter who scolded you is right on the money. What is in bad taste is the persistant stigma that prevents people from taking responsibility; the closed-minded stance of the Christian right wing; the doctrines of the Catholic Church; and the persistant unspoken attitude that HIV/AIDS will wipe out "sinners". When I was last in Africa two years ago, in Zambia, I was told the average life span for men is 47 - cause of death is AIDS. In South Africa, there is ZERO population growth as people are dying faster than the birth rate. So. Wear your ribbons today, and speak out, demand a cure.

Frederick, I agree. It is why I wear a virtual red ribbon on my site, and why I, a middle-class, Jewish, straight grandmother, constantly address HIV/AIDS with people. I'm very much the face of responsibility regarding this disease. We can all be.

robin andrea said...

I'm glad you wrote this, divajood. I agree with Frederick, it is not talked about enough. I can't remember the last time I heard any news that was AIDs- or HIV- related. Truly a shame.

The Fat Lady Sings said...

Wonderful post, my dear. You are right to call attention to this. Today I heard someone on CNN say that AIDS is the number one killer of African-American women under 25. Here in America, mind you; not Africa! It’s still a deadly, contagious disease – and no matter how hard Neocon’s work to either pretend it doesn’t exist or suppress safe sex information – it will continue to claim lives. I’m afraid not a one of ‘em will give a good god-damn until it’s their life it claims!

enigma4ever said...

Great post...and loved Tina's comment above as well...Thank you so much for helping us remember ....Tina said almost everything that was on my mind....amen..

Donnie McDaniel said...

Lets talk about the leading cause of the spread. The lack of funding and the continued lack of care by the current Administration about anything that they do not understand!

Pam in Tucson said...

Very well said. Thanks to you for your post and to the others who have commented here. I worked for 7 years for a local AIDS project and volunteer for and donate the profits from photography sales to another. No administration has done enough, but this heartless one's the worst in neglecting prevention in this country or the devastation from AIDS throughout the rest of the world.

DivaJood said...

We need to keep the promise. AIDS can and must be eradicated, and we have a responsibility to keep the light shining on it. We cannot hide this disease.