Today is International AIDS Day. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Since we were young, we’ve been hit over the head about how we can reduce the risk of getting the virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Certainly that it’s important. But so many of us have forgotten about the plight of those living with HIV-AIDS, both victims and survivors.
We think of the millions of people in Africa that are living with HIV and AIDS. In South Africa along, almost 6 million of their 50 million population have the affliction. Many of them young children, who contracted the virus as babies.
But we also have to remember that a huge number of First Nations people are living with HIV and AIDS as well. Many are terminally ill. Many others have even succumb to their illness.
Statistics say that First Nations people account for 20 per cent of over 20,000 AIDS diagnosis in Canada. Many thousands more have been infected with HIV.
We must do what we can to protect ourselves and our communities. We need to learn as much as we can about AIDS and HIV. Practice safe sex or abstinence. Don’t share needles. Don’t engage in risky behaviour. These are mantras we know well.
However, we also cannot forget about those living with HIV-AIDS. They need to support and comfort from friends, family and society. We need to see most research and development in new kinds of pharmaceuticals and therapies. Work must continue to find a cure.