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World AIDS Day

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, East Asia, Eastern & Central Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Oceania, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Digital Activism, Governance, Health

With the inaugural theme of “Communication” in 1988, World AIDS Day [1] was first established by UNAIDS [2] 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 [3], 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 [4] in a few countries and an International labor Organization report released today estimates that fewer youths in the region [5] will die of AIDS. Unfortunately, the region is hurt by a lack of effective AIDS prevention [6] due to political bickering and lack of funds, and HIV infection has grown in high-risk groups [7] (e.g. prostitutes, homosexuals [8]) throughout the region.

So writes Erwin Cifuentes at The Latin Americanist in a post [9] 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 [10]. Made in Brazil informs readers [11] 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 [12] a BBCMundo story on three Latin Americans living with HIV or AIDS.

In Spanish, the Mexico City metroblog Defecito shows support [13] by posting a special banner which reads “AIDS does not spread to the soul.” Chile Diaro (“Chile Daily”) writes [ES] [14], “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] [15] and DR1 [16] 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 [17], 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 [18].

In French Guiana, New Media notes [FR] [19]:

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 [20] 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 [21] … south africa is finally rolling out an aggressive treatment and prevention program [22].

Mad de Madagascar posts Madagascar AIDS stats for World AIDS Day [23]:

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 [24] 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] [25], a weblog dedicated to “Botswana, AIDS, and Blogging.”

Middle East and North Africa

Hamid Tehrani recently wrote [26] 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 [27] some of the HIV/AIDS statistics specific to Tajikstan.


CSR-Asia commemorates the day by looking at fresh data released last week by UNAIDS [28] 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 [29].

A Sepia Mutiny post titled “India in Focus on World AIDS Day [30]” 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 [31]:

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.