Please, stop a while and read this. I know this has nothing to do with SFF (well, actually not; Green Arrow’s sidekick, Speedy, is a young girl living with HIV AIDS), but it deserves a mention on every single blog and news outlet in the world.
I’m not into figures and stats but if anyone out there thinks that HIV AIDS is not a problem, get your head read. Or better yet, go get infected by it and then sit back and do nothing. This is a PROBLEM. The biggest PROBLEM the world has ever faced, in my opinion. This is bigger than the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), or the fact that billions in third-world countries are dying of hunger, or that the Jail on the Bay is still operating, or that you aren’t sure what to eat for dinner tonight.
HIV AIDS was never an issue in my life until my biological father’s wife (yup, not my Mom) contracted the virus from a blood transfusion. She had never been what we would call ‘healthy’, and so the virus destroyed her. She went from a healthy woman in the prime of her life to a pain-wracked skeleton in less than a year. She died earlier this year, leaving my father devastated, and alone, and suddenly unsure of his own life. But damnit she fought, tooth and nail, even when she couldn’t walk anymore, even when she didn’t have the strength to look out the window and see the sunlight, even when the meds she was on had her flying in distant realms where the pain wasn’t so bad. She never gave up. Not once.
And she didn’t sleep around. She didn’t shoot up. She didn’t live a lifestyle full of risk. She was a housewife who listened to music and cooked dinner and read books. And she was struck down.
So don’t make the dumb mistake of thinking it doesn’t affect you. Don’t make brainless choices that will, and you can’t disprove this, take you closer and closer to the virus. And help your governments make the right decisions to fight it, and not to spend more money on something else. What is more important than life?
Here in South Africa, some of the top people in our government made some very, very dumb moves: one raped a young woman and said that he wasn’t worried about HIV AIDS because he had taken a shower afterwards. Another person said that HIV AIDS could be treated by beetroot. And the big cheese said that HIV does not lead to AIDS, or has no connection to it, or something to that effect.
I’m not a doctor or a social worker or a company making Viagra – but if this goes even a little way to changing people’s perceptions about the worst PROBLEM the world has ever had to contend with, then at least a step has been taken in the right direction. Stop worrying about what’s on TV. Start worrying about HIV AIDS. It’s only by doing that that we can change the world, and save billions of lives.