"In the 25 years since the first case was reported, AIDS has changed the world. It has killed 25 million people and infected 40 million more. It has become the world's leading cause of death among both women and men ages 15 to 59. It has inflicted the single greatest reversal in the history of human development. In other words, it has become the greatest challenge of our generation."This year's theme is "accountability", and never has accountability been more important in the fight against Hiv and Aids. Governments and people lucky enough to remain free from infection need to do more to assist those peoples and countries that are bearing the full brunt of the epidemic. Many countries in Africa are suffering from massive rates of infection, such that almost no one is left untouched. But in the Asia Pacific region too, Aids is wercking havoc in those coutries least able to combat it. Cambodia, Burma, Thailand and PNG are suffering generalised epidemics (more than 1 per cent of the population over 15 years infected), and more must be done to ensure that universal access to treatment, care and prevention reaches these vulnerable peoples.
"But accountability applies not only to those who hold positions of power. It also applies to all of us. It requires business leaders to work for HIV prevention in the workplace and in the wider community, and to care for affected workers and their families. It requires health workers, community leaders and faith-based groups to listen and care, without passing judgment. It requires fathers, husbands, sons and brothers to support and affirm the rights of women. It requires teachers to nurture the dreams and aspirations of girls. It requires men to help ensure that other men assume their responsibility — and understand that real manhood means protecting others from risk. It requires every one of us to help bring AIDS out of the shadows, and spread the message that silence is death."In recent years the infection rate in Australia has been on the rise again, mainly in the gay community. People have become blase about the risks, especially now that anti-retrovirals are so accessible. This complacency is deadly and while we can't afford it in Australia the world can afford it even less.
So make a donation, buy a ribbon, but most of all raise awareness.