Have a Heart: World AIDS Day
Lifestyle Nov 11, 2019
Since 1988, a special day was designated in remembrance of those lost to HIV/AIDS and in support of those living with it.
Sadly, the pandemic has hit two Southern African nations hardest in terms of global infections: Botswana… and South Africa. We are the only two countries in the 15 – 50% range of infected individuals, making the battle against HIV that much more pertinent.
There was a time of a lack of political will to address the issue and it’s estimated that our country lost up to 300 000 of our citizens as a result. Mostly, the underprivileged who had no other access to antiretroviral medication.
Fortunately, that has since changed and our government – in terms of helping those affected by HIV/AIDS – is one we can be proud of.
That doesn’t change the fact the infection rate is still so high. And this is partly because the disease is still stigmatised. Part of our responsibility as citizens is to speak openly and plainly about the illness. It’s also to educate our youth as to what its causes are, how to best avoid it, and encourage them to go for regular tests if they one day fall into high risk groups.
Despite the very real struggle against this pandemic, the nations of the world are united in dealing with it. While it is one of the most difficult viruses to treat (because it is so effective at “hiding” from our immune system while at the same time attacking it), a lot of ongoing research continues to be poured into it.
Even with its very low, low rate of people living with HIV, the United States White House has, since 2007, made it part of World AIDS Day to hang a banner – the red AIDS Awareness Ribbon – from its North Portico.
This happened under the George W. Bush administration and continued through four administrations (each one being a four-year period even if the same president is returning to serve his second and final term).
The Ribbon, as seen here, hangs every year when the current President of the United States makes a proclamation about World AIDS Day.
In a similar vein, we should do the same. Simply by wearing the red ribbon on 1 December this year, and every year, we show our support for the patients, and those treating them, of this deadly disease.