During my recent travel to Vienna to attend the AIDS 2010 Conference i had plenty to learn,both good and shocking news!
In Sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts two-thirds of the world's HIV-positive population, 60 percent of people living with HIV are women. In the Caribbean and the Middle East, women are more than 50 percent of the HIV-positive population.I was then to learn that the most affected still remain women,who are as well the real drivers of homes and communities.
Another shocking news is that 80-90 percent of HIV Positive people still do not know their status.I then begin to question if we can count advocacy work as being successful.First,i want to look at it from the point of view of information,which is basic.Once we are infomed on the benefits of prevention,in my opinion we should know where we head to as individuals first,then as communities and nations.If i am not tested,it means i do not know my status.Then what do i do in prevention? Do i prevent myself from catching the virus or do i prevent spreading it? If i am not sure of what i am doing then i have a tripple task,including that of having to guess my status.
Thw world is advocating for a stop to AIDS.This will work better if communities go for testing.Even though,we should be able to recognize that no form of Stigmatization should be there and that every person has their right to confidentiality.This has been a major obstacle in the road towards the fight of HIV.With all the stigma that surrounds it,one would rather not know their status and remain 'safe'.
Countries that criminalize transmission of HIV are fighting against the fight.It is wrong to transmit HIV knowingly.On the other hand,is it safe not to know your status so that you are not criminalized when this happens.To my surprise this is also practised in developed countries such as Canada.It takes two to tango.The fight will be victorious if and when all parties are involved.It has also been proved that those who end up behind the bars are from minority communities.
HIV and AIDS is a universal epidemic.It requires a universal attack!
Leah Auma Okey. Reporting from facts gathered at the AIDS 2010 Conference.