World AIDS Day, December 1st, by Rich Paschall
While we have been busy with two pandemics, COVID-19 and stupidity, another has been pushed to the side. It is still deadly, still contagious, and still has no cure.
Since 1988 December 1st has been known as World AIDS Day in all UN countries. It was first recommended in 1987 by public information officers for the Global Program on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic. The disease is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and while there has been research to find a cure or a vaccine for decades now, none has been found.
About 700,000 people die of AIDS each year. That is down from 1.1 million in 2010 due to advances in treatment and availability of drugs in other countries. New cases each year are about 1.7 million people at present and approximately 40 million people are living with the disease, a little more than half are women.
I point out this last fact because many years ago I was sitting in on a group discussion on HIV/AIDS. One man at that session had stated that he could not understand how he got infected. He was not gay and only had sex recently with his girlfriend. He had no idea if she was infected or could even imagine she might be the source.
The flu virus does not ask about your religious background before infecting you. HIV does not ask about your sexual orientation before infecting you. And COVID-19 does not ask your political affiliation before infecting you. None are a hoax, all could kill you, with HIV and COVID-19 being much more deadly than the flu.
Common misconceptions of the transmission of HIV meant a deadly stigma became associated with the disease. Gay people were treated with scorn as if they were the cause of the disease and unsuspecting straight people got the disease thinking they were immune. It is no wonder an educational day was needed.
HIV is spread through sexual contact, infected bodily fluids, and from mother to child during pregnancy. Since the virus can mutate rapidly to become resistant to treatment, you can become infected a second time with another strain of the virus. This is known as HIV superinfection. False impressions of the spread of HIV have persisted since the mid-1980s and has led to the infections of some through stupidity, the persistent pandemic.
No one has a body to die for.
The past campaign slogan was meant to encourage safe sex practices. While many embraced the idea, some pushed back either for religious reasons or because they felt immune since they were straight. Some of those people are now dead from the disease. It is the same as those who died of the coronavirus after calling it a hoax.
“Friends, in responding to COVID-19, the world cannot make the same mistakes it made in the fight against HIV, when millions in developing countries died waiting for treatment.” – UNAIDS press release
With funds being diverted from HIAV/AIDS research, treatment, and delivery services across the world and especially in poor countries, we can expect a rise in AIDS cases in the coming years.
Imperial College London estimates “in high burden settings, HIV, TB and malaria-related deaths over 5 years may be increased by up to 10%, 20% and 36%, respectively, compared to if there were no COVID-19 epidemic.” – Friends of the Global Fight, November 20, 2020
UNAIDS has noted that these global problems, AIDS, COVID-19, and other diseases need a global solution. It is only through worldwide solidarity will we be able to beat these deadly pandemics. This does beg the question. How will we do this when the other pandemic has been running rampant for several millennia?