Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

World AIDS Day, 1 December 2013

5 Comments

The first time AIDS crossed my radar was in 1985, when I read this edition of Time magazine. People were dying of a virus and nobody knew why. It was terrifying; a plague. I had my first HIV test at university and then later in the UK when I was pregnant with my first child. I was, mercifully, HIV-free but for millions of people the experience of being tested has a different outcome.

Getting up the courage to have the test is one thing (brilliantly documented in Jonny Steinberg’s book Sizwe’s Test), but living with HIV – even in this world of anti-retrovirals – takes another kind of courage.

In his memoir Aidsafari, South African journalist Adam Levin talks about how, when he tested positive in 2003, he experienced life-threatening opportunistic infections and debilitating side-effects from the medication, was bedridden for months, tortured by nerve pains in his feet, lost his hair and teeth, required dentures at 35, had TB and cancer. It is a deeply moving book.

Imagine suffering as he did, but in poverty – in a home without electricity or running water and without access to medical care.

Despite having the world’s biggest HIV treatment programme in the world – 2.4 million people on drugs – South Africa is only treating a third of them. Four million people still don’t have access to treatment. At least one in five treatment facilities or clinics have run out of HIV or TB drugs.

AIDS has not gone away. We might be getting closer to a vaccine, but that is cold comfort to people already infected with the virus, who through poverty can’t access treatment or whose local clinic has run out of drugs.

The theme of World AIDS Day 2013 is Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation. The virus began one person at a time, and we can end it one person at time. Let’s think about ways we can each take steps to stop HIV – we can find a local AIDS organisation and donate, we can talk about AIDS to our children, we can read up about HIV to beat the myth that it has been dealt with. I did a quiz and discovered that despite all my research into HIV/AIDS, I still know very little. Self-education helps!

In the name of learning more, I have collected some blog posts and news articles more eloquent than mine on the topic of HIV/AIDS:

We can end AIDS without a cure

Too many being left behind in AIDS fight

World AIDS Day: No time for complacency

Still here and still fighting – AmeriNZ blog for World AIDS Day

Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day

The sangoma who lives for science

If you have written a blog post to mark World AIDS Day 2013 or stumbled across a post you like, let me know and I will link to it from here.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

5 thoughts on “World AIDS Day, 1 December 2013

  1. I remember my mom telling me there was a new disease and to not share drinks or anything at school. That must have been around the same time as the magazine story – I was in 1st grade. I remember watching “And the Band Played On” in high school and believing that, as a gay man, it was my destiny to die of AIDS. I will never forget the fear waiting for that first test result. Thankfully that one (and each one since) has been negative. Scary thought that had I been born 15 years earlier, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

  2. Thanks for posting this. We lost so many brilliant figure skaters this way.

  3. A wonderful, thoughtful post as always. I hate the way that the UK press runs headlines about the battle against AIDS being nearly won. It’s plain irresponsible! There is still no cure for the millions infected with the disease, and only the very lucky few in developed nations can afford to look at it as a minor inconvenience to contract, to be controlled with drugs.

  4. i want you all to help me thank Dr. Aluta for saving my life, i was diagnosed of HIV and at the same time i was 7 months pregnant, i was confused and i didn’t know what to do until i meant a friend on the internet who directed me to Dr. Aluta, i did not believe it until i contacted the good man who was able to help me out of the situation with his herbs, it only cost me some little amount of money to cure HIV through Dr. Aluta so i will also advice any body that needs help with theirs to contact Dr. Aluta through his email address, Alutaspelltemple@hotmail.com , you can also call him on +2348077526430 , i pray that God will use Dr. Aluta to cure a lot of people in Jesus name. thanks and God bless you all.

  5. Medical scientists have discovered a new way to battle HIV/AIDS by using a man called Dr.Sakura.
    MY NAME IS VIVIAN MULLAN.I SAW A COMMENT ON POSITIVE BLOGS AND I WILL LOVE TO TELL EVERY BODY HOW MY STATUS CHANGES TO NEGATIVE,
    AND AM NOW A LIVING WITNESS OF IT AND I THINK ITS A SHAME ON ME IF I DON’T SHARE THIS LOVELY STORY WITH OTHER PEOPLE INFECTED WITH THIS DEADLY VIRUS.
    HIV HAS BEEN ONGOING IN MY FAMILY, I LOST BOTH PARENTS TO HIV. AND IT IS SO MUCH PAIN I’VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET OVER..
    AS WE ALL KNOW MEDICALLY THERE IS NO SOLUTION TO IT..AND MEDICATION IS VERY EXPENSIVE..SO SOMEONE INTRODUCED ME TO A HERBAL PRACTITIONER IN AFRICA..
    I HAD A JOB THERE TO EXECUTE SO I TOOK TIME TO CHECK OUT ON HIM.I SHOWED HIM ALL MY TESTS AND RESULTS..
    I WAS ALREADY DISORGANIZED WITH HIV AND IT WAS ALREADY TAKING ITS TOWL ON ME..
    I HAD SPENT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SO I DECIDED TO TRY HIM OUT ALTHOUGH I DID’NT BELIEVE IN IT,
    I WAS JUST TRYING IT OUT OF FRUSTRATION? AND AFTER 2 DAYS, HE TOLD ME TO GO FOR A NEW TEST.
    AND YOU WON’T BELIEVE THAT 5 DIFFERENT DOCTORS CONFIRMED IT THAT AM NEGATIVE..IT WAS LIKE A DREAM,,I NEVER BELIEVE AIDS HAS CURE..AM NOW NEGATIVE,,
    AM A LIVING WITNESS..I DON’T KNOW HOW TO THANK THIS MAN? I JUST WANT TO HELP OTHERS IN ANY WAY I CAN..
    I HAVE JOINED MANY FORUMS AND HAVE POSTED THIS TESTIMONIES AND ALOT OF PEOPLE HAS MAIL AND CALLED THIS MAN ON PHONE AND AFTER 2 DAYS THEY ALL CONFIRMED NEGATIVE..
    BBC NEWS TOOK IT LIVE AND EVERY EVERYBODY SAW IT AND ITS NOW OUT IN PAPERS AND MAGAZINES THAT THERE IS A HERBAL CURE FOR HIV AND ALL WITH THE HELP OF THIS MAN,,
    IF YOU WISH TAKE IT OR NOT..GOD KNOWS HAVE TRIED MY BEST. ABOUT 28 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE THROUGH THE HERBAL CURE OF DR.SAKURA..
    AND THEY SEND MAILS TO THANKS ME AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE,,THIS MAN IS REAL..DON’T MISS THIS CHANCE,,HIV IS A DEADLY VIRUS,,GET RID OF IT NOW..
    If there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out, his email still remains THE.HIV.HERBAL.DOCTOR@LIVE.COM

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