Monday, December 03, 2007

World Aids Day

Lady Banana reminded me that Saturday was World Aids Day.

I was listening to the radio last week and heard a related story about Washington DC, where I used to live off and on for over 10 years. Washington DC has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the US, with 12,500 people infected. It is a city of huge contrast, with extreme wealth and poverty, largely divided along race based geography in a relatively small area.

At a time when the US President is proposing to spend millions in Africa to combat AIDS, how about using some of it at home.

When I lived there in the 1980s, AIDS was just coming out of the closet. I have a vivid memory of all those young and predominantly white faces on the huge AIDS Quilt that was constructed on the mall. At that time, there was very little knowledge and people did not know how to protect themselves and were dying, often very quickly. Now the knowledge is significantly better, drugs are available, methods of protection are understood. People can live longer, yet predominantly people of colour continue to be infected. Surely public education and better public policy can change this.

That said another article I read lately said that the rate of infection in Australia is growing again as young people don't take the threat seriously. That needs to be addressed urgently.

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