Two weeks ago I watched the 1993 film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington for the first time! I have heard about it but obviously never got round to watching it. Naturally it got me thinking about how far the world has come in the war against HIV and AIDS and how much work still needs to be done, as I discussed in a previous post. December is a month known as the festive / religious season of Christmas, although now it’s more about the retail industry boosting profits than the real meaning of Christmas; red is the usual celebratory colour during this time. From 1st December I noticed people started to adorn themselves with red ribbons, not in preparation for Christmas but for World AIDS day.
This global initiative started 24 years ago, as a sign of support for everyone around the world affected by the disease and to break down the stigma engulfing suffers. Since the film Philadelphia (Tom Hanks definitely earned his Oscar) was released in 1993, there have been improvements in HIV treatment, which we hear time and time again, but yet the disease is still rife in poorer parts of the world. This does not surprise me as there is a mountain of reasons why, not just access to medication, but lack of education and cultural beliefs. I was surprised when watching a Sky News report just before World AIDS day that despite all the information in the UK and sexual health support, HIV cases are actually on the rise here, and are the highest they have ever been! This does not sound like progress. When figures like these come out one can get flippant and blame the increase on immigrants from countries where HIV is more prevalent or say it only affects gay people, but according to Health Protection agency statistics:
96,000 people in the UK have HIV
- 24, 000 people don’t even know they are infected – scary!
- 6,280 people were diagnosed in 2011
- Almost half of HIV infections in 2011 were through heterosexual sex
- 3,010 gay men also found out they were infected in 2011
There is information out there but health experts are concerned that people are not reading it. Maybe there is a cloud of complacency in the UK? Many people believe that it will never happen to them, things like HIV happen to people you see on the news. We have heard many times that HIV is no longer a death sentence, so some may believe it’s not as scary as it used to be and just like any other STD. We all know the NHS is not the best, especially with South London NHS Trust going into administration earlier this year after falling into £150 million debt, but if you need medication you can get it in the UK. Like the human species, diseases have the intention of reproducing and multiplying, but unlike humans they don’t discriminate. HIV viruses don’t mind if you are tall, fat, rich, poor, male, female, adult or a child. They also could care less about your race, the football team you support, how big your muscles are, whether you have a good weave or not! So what do people with HIV actually look like in today’s society? I’ll leave you to answer that one! A famous quote from the bible, Hosea 4:6 (slightly taken out of context here, but you catch my drift…) ‘my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….’. It seems that we have become a society that doesn’t seek out information, or maybe we are only concerned with things that directly affect us, and HIV is not one of them!
doubleaad : AdelinA