Madagascar: Fighting complacency on World AIDS Day

On world AIDS day, Malagasy bloggers reminded their readers that despite the progress made in the field of AIDS therapy and HIV prevention, one cannot afford to be complacent about preventing the disease. During his weekly address to the nation, the president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana reminded his fellow citizens that there is no development without health care and encouraged nonprofit organizations and faith-based associations to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Sipagasy reminds us that requesting one's partner to use protection during sexual activity is an act of love (mg):

Mahagaga tokoa mantsy fa araka ny hita @izy ireny dia misy ny mieritreritra fa dia hoe mahamenatra hono ny manontany ‘fimailo’ @ ilay olona miaraka aminy!! amiko anisan’ny porofom-pitiavana izany, satria miaro azy sy miaro ny tenanao ianao

It is mind-boggling to me that people are still bashful about requesting their lovers to use protection. That is the ultimate act of love because you are protecting both your partner and yourself.

Ikala asks her readers whether they are absolutely positive about their HIV status. She invites her readers to get tested and quotes a telling statistic (fr):

Selon les derniers chiffres rendus publics par l’InVS, 6 500 personnes ont découvert leur séropositivité en 2007. Presque une personne sur trois vivant avec le VIH ignore encore sa séropositivité. Le sida existe toujours, malgré les progrès récents qui permettent de mieux soigner cette maladie et d’améliorer la qualité de vie des séropositifs

According to the data from INVS, 6,500 found out that they are HIV-positive in 2007. Almost 1 out of 3 people living with HIV still ignores that they are HIV-positive. AIDS is still a threat despite the recent progress that allows one to get better treatment and improves the quality of life of HIV-positive people

Pati assesses how much progress were actually made . She acknowledges a widespread awareness of HIV but wonders whether we are keeping our promises(fr):

Pendant que d’autres refusent de se faire dépistés et de connaître leur situation par rapport au VIH/SIDA, des ateliers ne s’arrêtent d’être organisés […] Même jusqu’aux zones les plus enclavées de l’île, on en parle,on fait des sensibilisations sur mais la même question se pose, où en sommes nous?! […] je ne vais pas faire de sensibilisation car je crois que ce n’est plus la peine de répéter tout le temps ce que tout le monde connaît par cœur […] Mais je pense que ce qui reste à faire c’est de rappeler à tout le monde que par rapport à ce qu’ils savent, ils ont leur devoirs.

While many people still refuse to know their status, workshops and testing are being organized all the time […] Even in the most remote places on the island, HIV is being discussed, campaigns are making progress and yet, the question remains, how far along are we now ? […]
This post will not be another awareness article because I think it is not worth repeating what everyone knows by now [..] However, I think it is worth reminding everyone that with the knowledge that they have, they have a duty to act on it.

Tomavana wants everyone to remember that discrimination against HIV + people is still strong:

don’t pick the wrong fight: exclude AIDS, not HIV-positive people. 

With respect to fighting for the right of HIV-positive people, the FIMIZORE association for the protection of the rights of sex workers and homosexuals in Madagascar created a new blog to document their actions.

For more information, please visit Global Voices’ special coverage page for World AIDS Day 2008.

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