World AIDS Day: Reflections and Raising Awareness

AIDS RibbonWhile it's true that most people know by now that HIV/AIDS poses a threat, World AIDS Day, which takes place today, attempts to focus the world's attention on this disease for a day and show just how big a threat still persists.

There has been progress in combating the disease since it was first identified in the early 80s, but HIV/AIDS remains a major public health issue. Over 33 million people are currently living with HIV worldwide, almost 70 percent of who live in sub-Saharan Africa. People with HIV are living longer though, in part because of the beneficial effects of antiretroviral therapy. To highlight the need for universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and prevention, the theme of this year's World AIDS Day is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights.’

Bloggers globally have used World AIDS Day as an opportunity to share their thoughts on not only this disease, but the significance of this day. Many of these blogs are included on Global Voices Google map of HIV-positive bloggers and groups who blog about the disease, which has been updated for World AIDS Day. Charlie Dale, blogging on My Journey with Judy… from the United States, reflects on the significance of World AIDS Day.

“Somehow over the years I guess I have grown complacent to what this day really means, if in all honesty anything to the masses. In the beginning it was in all the news stories, papers and events that this day was approaching and awareness and attention was brought to this monster killer.

Over the years though the media like the rest of us I guess has grown overly weary of a problem that is still fairly rampant and in the minds of the media VERY old news sadly to say…Long term survivors like myself I guess have grown weary, worn and tired. Many of us are just trying to survive day to day and make something of ourselves and our lives.”

But Claire Keeton, blogging for South Africa’s Sunday Times, says there is still an important role for World AIDS Day.

“It’s that time of year when Christmas decorations flood the shops and red AIDS ribbons come out. Tuesday is World AIDS Day.

Some people with HIV/AIDS and activists object to World AIDS Day – essentially saying it allows people to ignore the epidemic the rest of the year, as long as they remember it for a single day.

Paying lip service. Window dressing. Look at the Onion cover in that light.

From my side, World AIDS Day does have advantages. It’s the one time of the year that all media make space for HIV/AIDS stories.”

Many bloggers have done just that, made space on their blogs to share their experiences about this disease. Aderyn Verwood from Germany, blogging on Vintage Verwood, says that until her good friend was diagnosed with HIV, she didn’t pay much attention to it:

“Like most people, I knew about HIV, but the role it played in my life was too insignificant to ever become more than a distant, abstract threat that seemingly did not belong to my environment. Now, no day goes past that I don’t think of it consciously, that I don’t hope for improvement of already existing therapies or for a breakthrough in scientific research, so that a cure might be found…To my friend, I’d just like to say: I hope that many decades from now, we will sit together, old and wrinkly, laughing about the times when we were young. I love you.”

Others took a less personal approach and blogged to raise awareness and spread the facts. Jessica Joseph, blogging on Alien in The Caribbean from Trinidad and Tobago, wrote a three-part exploration of sex and sexuality in the Caribbean in the days leading up to World AIDS Day. In this first part, she looks at where the shame and secrets regarding sex come from:

“Some of the questions I would like to investigate are: Where exactly did our prudery and hypocrisy come from? What are the elements of sexual attraction? What are the dynamics of gender and sexual orientation? Some of the resolutions I would to make are: Sexuality and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Good sex is also safe sex. HIV/Aids is a viral representation of a deeper syndrome and its cure lies in a holistic approach to sexuality even it means the painful re-breaking and re-setting of a bone (no pun intended) that was badly cast for a very long time.”

Some bloggers used art to express how they feel on World AIDS Day. Last year Richard Kearns, blogging on HAVVACC, wrote this poem in honor of the day and says he plans to write a new poem this year. Sinthalunda, a poet in Malawi, posts this poem:

“Here from this musty village
Come golden stars
Who dance the same rhythm
From far beyond the horizon;
Their light sound gets louder
As they walk to school
For the beat of lessons
Round the circle of subjects.

From this forgotten compound
Come complex joys
From children whose nose-dust
Has been cleaned by wind's awareness.
For now, the way of knowledge
In the world of education
Has taught them to sense
The voice of silenced victims.”

To encourage more bloggers to write about HIV/AIDS on all 365 days of the year, not just World AIDS Day, this past summer Rising Voices released “Blogging Positively,” a collection of case studies, interviews and best practices about citizen media related to HIV/AIDS. The guide highlights leaders in the HIV-positive community, contains tips for workshop facilitators and teachers and provides resources to help new bloggers get started.


  • Sipho dlamini of real talk in south africa(daggakraal)

    Everyday it takes me more than an hour to look at few things. people at my area take condoms but don t use them and the no of pregnant woman grows. So i asj my self are we winning or loosing the fight. Hope to have answer one day

  • While I don’t mind being quoted and meant what I wrote, in my opinion my blog is not the best possible source to quote, because my words merely were personal thoughts addressing an audience which usually visits my blog to read about virtual fashion in Second Life (TM).

    “Aderyn Verwood” is an avatar: a fictional character I created, which alone may be enough to make many people unfamiliar with the concept dismiss what I have to say on the sole ground that those few lines cannot be directly connected to a real life person. Compared to other blogs, “Vintage Verwood” cannot be a medium through which critical thoughts about the topic are spread, simply because it usually serves a different purpose, and because the facts I reveal about the person behind the avatar Aderyn Verwood are very limited due to my wish to protect both my own personal life and – in this case – my friend’s.

    The few lines I chose to publish can hardly do justice to the cause, nor do they come close to expressing what I would have to say on the subject if approached personally, and the cause – raising awareness of the situation of people living with HIV and their families, friends and relatives – is one too serious to me to waver its credibility by such outward circumstances.

    That said, I applaud your endeavour and support the notion of raising a voice on more than just a single day a year.

  • I’ve created a free World AIDS Day card to be forwarded by anyone. Let’s create awareness with heart. The card/poster is titled: Imagine an AIDS-Free World. View it and my blog entry at The Boomer Muse

  • Ida Jeng

    Great blog-post.

  • I am trying to spread the word myself along with challenging Christians in how they respond to it (I’m a house-church leader).

    Feel free to check out my blog post:

  • Hi,

    In honor and support of World AIDS Day I wanted to let readers know that icyou has lots of videos all about AIDS, HIV/AIDS patients and awareness. For those of you looking for more information about World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS in general check out these videos/links below…

    check back at icyou for more health-related videos because we update daily!


  • It’s wonderful that there is a World Aids Day to remind us of how we must continually try to defeat this debilitating disease. However, and unfortunately, I just read an excellent article that said we still have a long way to go in the battle:

    • annonymous

      hello world,
      i want to inform you all that there is a solution to all sickness. i have been cure of HIV by DR OKO the great herbalist healer. i saw the email of this DR online and how a young man share a testimony about him that this man cure his sickness at first i thought it was a scam but my friend told me to give him a trial actually i contacted him and did what he ask me to do, and he gave me his medicine and directed me on how to use, i follows his instruction,and he told me to go for check up after two weeks to confirm if his herbal medicine truly work, then after two weeks i went to the hospital to confirm if i was still positive to my greatest surprise i am heal from my hiv sickness.
      now i want to recommend DR OKO to every sick person out there to contact him and trust him. here is the email of this great healer:
      mrs cordilia from italy

  • […] Bhatia, writing for Global Voices Online, reminds us of the purpose of World AIDS Day – to focus our attention for an entire day on a […]

  • Lara Smith

    My Name is Lara from usa. i am really happy to share my life testimony on this forum because the sickness of HIV that i think is impossible to cure was possible when i meet a grate spell caster, i know so many people have same problem which they are finding difficult to solve. i have been sick for over 4 years now. i have been to so many hospitals and i could not get any solution to my sickness. i decided to discussion my problem with my friend Mrs Susan. she introduce me to a powerful spell caster in African . i never believe in black magic,until my boss introduce me to the same man called Dr Eduka.who happen to be the grates healer in the hole of African, i contacted him and he assure me that he will help me cure the sickness of HIV that i have. he instructed me on what to do and i obeyed him. to my greatest surprise, i was healed within three days. after the spell was being cast.i am now using the opportunity to tell all of you that have the sickness to quickly contact this man a get a good result as soon as possible, is email is is spell is for a better life.

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