12.01.2009

Pick of the Day: World AIDS Day

Conceived by two public information officers (James Bunn and Thomas Netter) working for the World Health Organization in Geneva, World AIDS Day has been held annually since 1988 to promote awareness of the pandemic and to honour those who have died from HIV/AIDS.

That's a lot of people to commemorate, unfortunately. Since 1981, an estimated 25 million people world-wide have died from the disease. Another 34 million currently live with HIV. In the past decade in particular, Africa has been hardest hit. But earlier this year, Saskatchewan's chief medical officer Moira McKinnon made headlines with the announcement that there had been a 40-per-cent jump in new cases of HIV in the province to 174 compared to 2007.

From the outset in the Western world, HIV/AIDS has been stigmatized unlike virtually any other communicable disease; first because of its association with gay men, and now because of its impact on sex trade workers and intravenous drug users. For proof of the extent to which "morality" has intruded on what is essentially a public health issue, one need look no further than the recent decision of the Saskatchewan government to limit the number of needles distributed at needle exchanges to ten per visit -- a move which HIV advocacy groups have condemned.

It has become a tradition on Dec. 1 for arts organizations and artists to withdraw from view for a day an art work as a way of observing World AIDS Day. In honour of that tradition, there is no pick-of-the-day today. Although if you're in the Cornwall Centre today between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. AIDS Programs South Saskatchewan and All Nations Hope will be distributing informational pamphlets. As well, at 7 p.m. there will be a memorial gathering for people lost to AIDS at the Ramada Hotel.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Hi,

1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at Disease.com, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
If you need more information please mail me with the subject line as your URL.

Thank You,
Sharon Vegoe
Disease.com