World AIDS Day

With the inaugural theme of “Communication” in 1988, World AIDS Day was first established by UNAIDS as an annual day of awareness and outreach to confront the stigma, discrimination, and ignorance surrounding one of the world's deadliest preventable diseases. Nearly two decades, 65 million infections, and 25 million deaths later, the campaign continues, with bloggers around the globe eager to do their part. With the help of Georgia Popplewell and Alice Backer, the majority of this post focuses on bloggers from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa. I hope that readers help make it more representative by adding links in the comments section to blog posts from their region which commemorate World AIDS Day.

Latin America:

In Latin America and the Caribbean there are some encouraging signs in a few countries and an International labor Organization report released today estimates that fewer youths in the region will die of AIDS. Unfortunately, the region is hurt by a lack of effective AIDS prevention due to political bickering and lack of funds, and HIV infection has grown in high-risk groups (e.g. prostitutes, homosexuals) throughout the region.

So writes Erwin Cifuentes at The Latin Americanist in a post that links to seven other interesting developments throughout the region related to spread of and battle against AIDS. Maegan “la Mala” of VivirLatino focuses on how the pandemic has affected the Latino community in the United States. Made in Brazil informs readers of the Brazilian campaign for World Aids Day, entitled “A vida é mais forte que a Aids” (life is stronger than Aids) and includes two video clips that are part of the campaign. Phillippa of Cuaderno Latinoamericano links to a BBCMundo story on three Latin Americans living with HIV or AIDS.

In Spanish, the Mexico City metroblog Defecito shows support by posting a special banner which reads “AIDS does not spread to the soul.” Chile Diaro (“Chile Daily”) writes [ES], “in Chile, 25 years after the discovery of the disease, people still confuse the virus with the values of morality and good catholic customs. There are even the fanatics that believe AIDS was sent by god to end promiscuity.”


We also see tremendous observance of the day in the Caribbean, one of the regions hit hardest by AIDS. From the Dominican Republic, Remolacha [ES] and DR1 both note that an estimated 1.1% of the country's population carries the virus.

Writing from Trinidad and Tobago, Georgia Popplewell breaks down the harrowing statistics of the disease per region. In the Caribbean alone she notes:

250,000 adults and children living with HIV
120,000 women living with HIV
27,000 adults and children newly infected with HIV
1.2% adult prevalence
19,000 adult and child deaths due to AIDS

Fellow Trinidadian Karen Walrond, having discovered a BBC story about HIV/AIDS in Trinidad from Gallimaufry, decided to go pro-active and pledge a dollar donation to the Cyril Ross Nursery for children affected by HIV/AIDS for each comment on this post.

In French Guiana, New Media notes [FR]:

La journée mondiale de lutte contre le sida a aussi été suivie en Guyane. Et pour cause, proportionnellement au nombre d’habitants, la Guyane est le département le plus touché par la maladie en France. Entre le jeudi 30 novembre et ce vendredi 1 décembre, de nombreuses opérations de sensibilisation se déroulent

World Aids Day was followed in French Guiana. Proportionally to the number of inhabitants, French Guiana is the department the most touched by the disease in France. Between Thursday November 30 and Friday December 1, numerous outreach activities take place.


Sokari Ekine tells the story of 24-year-old HIV positive woman she met in Johannesburg:

Last year on World Aids Day I spoke with Rose about her experience of living with HIV . Rose has chosen to leave a comment revealing her true self and revealing the name of the person from who she contracted HIV, something she has only ever done to one person. She explains why she has chosen to do this at this time and what it means to her to make these revelations.

This year, whilst in Johannesburg, I spoke with Mpho, a young woman who is also HIV positive. Unlike Rose who has been positive for 20 years, Mpho only found out in April this year after she was raped last October. For her the journey is twofold. Coming to terms with being raped and having to see her rapist walk the streets in freedom; and beginning her journey of an HIV positive life.

Kameelah, writing from Johannesburg, laments the way the Mbeki administration has dealt – or, or more appropriately, not dealt – with AIDS:

i am not sure if most folks realize, but it wasn't until the end of 2006 that south africa, a country with an HIV-positive population of 5.5 million (only second to india) formally recognized AIDS … south africa is finally rolling out an aggressive treatment and prevention program.

Mad de Madagascar posts Madagascar AIDS stats for World AIDS Day:

Estimation du taux de prévalence du VIH chez les adultes (15-49 ans), fin 2005 -> 0,5 %

Estimation of HIV rate among adults (15-49), end of 2005 -> 0.5%

This is Zimbabwe has posted a video of Bono's World Aids Day message and then adds:

Whatever you do today, please don’t forget that life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34 for woman, and 37 for men. Think about that for a second. This is really your day, not ours. Zimbabweans don’t need ‘World Aids day’ to be reminded of AIDS. AIDS is with us every single day of the year.

Of special emphasis is Blogswana [ES], a weblog dedicated to “Botswana, AIDS, and Blogging.”

Middle East and North Africa

Hamid Tehrani recently wrote about a blog competition organized by UNAids, Unicef and the Iranian Positive Life Institue to spur discussion of topics related to the pandemic.

If you know of other posts from the Middle East and North Africa (or anywhere else) commemorating World AIDS Day, please link to them in the comments section below.

Central Asia and Caucasus

Vadim of Neweurasia discusses some of the HIV/AIDS statistics specific to Tajikstan.


CSR-Asia commemorates the day by looking at fresh data released last week by UNAIDS which revealed that “an estimated 8.6 million people were living with HIV in Asia in 2006, with some 960,000 new infections. Approximately 630,000 people in Asia died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2006.”

Readers interested in AIDS activism in China should read up on the extensive reporting by John Kennedy and Oiwan Lam on activist and blogger Hu Jia.

A Sepia Mutiny post titled “India in Focus on World AIDS Day” has already inspired 50 comments; most of which react to this claim:

On the other hand — and here’s the “for worse” part — even the most abundant supply of inexpensive drugs can’t overcome poor distribution networks and, even worse, bonehead ignorance, especially when it comes from the people in charge of administering AIDS programs.


To Tahiti, where students at the University of French Polynesia got active today:

Dans le cadre de la journée mondiale de lutte contre le SIDA, l'université de la Polynésie française se mobilise, le vendredi 1er décembre, pour inviter les étudiants à “plus de responsabilité”… Le thème de la Journée Mondiale de lutte contre le SIDA porte cette année sur la responsabilité au niveau individuel, communautaire et nationa … La Polynésie française fait partie des pays les moins touchés par l'infection à VIH avec un taux de prévalence de l'infection inférieur à 0,1 %.

For World AIDS Day, the University of French Polynesia mobilizes itself, on Friday December 1, to invite students to “be more responsible”. The theme of World AIDS Day this year is responsibility at the individual level … French Polynesia is one of the countries least affected by HIV infection with an infection rate lower than 0.1%

And Finally …

I hope that this already lengthy collection of conversation and concern is extended and diversified with more links to more posts from more regions in the comments section. Be safe.


  • Dennis H. Clarke

    I desperately applaud the people who continue to work on the front lines of the AIDS pandemic to save lives. I fear no one hears the applause. I send assistance and wonder if it arrives.

    I remember well, what it was like in the early years, before AIDS had a name. By 1982, seven men my wife and I knew, all coworkers of hers and friends, all working for a single airline at one large airline base, had already died or were dieing of it.

    Those were frightening times. No one seemed to know what was killing them or how it was being transmitted.

    For most of the population of Earth, decades later, it is still mostly that way.

    I also remember well that as the medical communities, led by the U.S. CDC got their wits about them that there were those among them and us who saw AIDS as a solution, rather than a problem.

    Too many still do, thinking their enemy alien thoughts, all cursing mankind.

    The bottom line continues to be that the will to do something about AIDS and to act on the same priority basis as we would act if one of our bio-warfare versions of smallpox were to get loose, is not and never has been there.

    Aids is still about the personas of the victims, too many of them still seen as useless bread gobblers, lives devoid of value, too poor, under educated, non believers and beyond the reach of those who would help them if they thought they knew how.

    It bothers me severely that I live in a country where we allow our politicians to stampede us to war against our neighbors but won’t lead us with the same vigor to find a way to help the most desperate of the peoples of Earth and out create disease, poverty and lack of education. They are a creation of our own moral malaise.

    On this AIDS Day, I am reminded of the Beatitudes as my late father would read them to us, his children, each night. He read from the Gospel of Saint Mathew, from the Sermon on the Mount:

    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 3)

    Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. (Verse 4)

    Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Verse 5)

    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. (Verse 6)

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Verse 7)

    Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. (Verse 8)

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Verse 9)

    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Verse 10)

    As a child, knowing no better, I thought this was what adult life was about and that these were the blessings we should wish as good citizens for all of mankind surrounding us. As a child, I thought this was how all adults thought and that I was just learning the rules.

    As a child, I had not yet learned that there was a difference between religious philosophy and religious practice and so we could war over practice and ignore our shared philosophies.

    How very childish of me.

    As an adult, for the lonely moments, I now carry one of Cicero’s prayers: “Where there is life there is hope.”

    And from my friend, L. Ron Hubbard, I have received and carry the ulitimate wisdom of heart and soul and know, “Something can be done about it.”

    So I contribute what I can and carry on.

    And for those who are still trying, I continue the applause.

    Dennis H. Clarke

  • […] Many of those bloggers, however, decided only to let the photos speak for themselves. Lian Yue’s Eighth Continent, for example, who merely posted two photos, one from the show trial and the second of Indian prostitutes out rallying for World AIDS Day last week, a comparison several other bloggers made. Moogee at Pro State In Flames took a similar approach by collecting different news photos from the show trial. Moogee’s on fire this week. Great news recently of relaxation on the rules imposed on foreign reporters visiting China leading up to next year’s Olympics. But will Beijing’s preparation for the summer games bring any benefits for local journalists, many of whom have turned sports reporting into an art? […]

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