About 30 percent of people living with HIV are not accessing treatment, despite evidence medications could reduce the risk of passing on the virus by more than 95 percent.
About 70, 000 sufferers in Australia could also be seriously damaging their own health by refusing or delaying treatment – just one tablet per day.
The above text was seen in an anonymous article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. It’s funny how only two paragraphs of writing can leave such an impacting message. Since the 14th of September last year when I was flown to Nepal, the lack of media coverage and education as a whole regarding HIV/AIDS has been very evident to me. And my study of the lack of coverage over the past few months has only made this belief stronger. Through my study of HIV/AIDS in the media, I have taken notice that the coverage of this topic has come and gone in interesting patterns. The first bite of media burst being the beginning of the phenomenom in the 80’s. The disease was looked upon badly and was purely considered a “gay man’s” disease. The next spout of media coverage was the late 80’s through to the early 90’s, where advertising for HIV/AIDS was at its peak; with adds such as the Grim Reaper’s, and the coverage regarding musical idol Freddie Mercury’s death. It appeared that Mercury’s death due to AIDS sparked the creation of a lot of fundraising and foundations. Since then though, the media has forgotten this fatal disease and have dismissed the teaching of it in schools sex ed.
I don’t think describing this as ignorance quite makes the cut. I personally think the media has overlooked this issue as it is not seen as a first world problem, it’s only occuring in countries like Africa, we don’t live there so why should we care? This outlook not only shows how disgustingly ignorant and selfish the first world can be, it also creates a fear of the unknown. The best example I can give of this fear is that of what I felt prior to leaving Australia to work with infected children and their mother’s in Nepal. I almost cancelled because I was certain I was going to get AIDS. I’m very lucky and appreciative that my father ripped my head out of the ground and taught me what school failed to.
HIV/AIDS is a serious disease that has devastatingly been the cause of millions of deaths worldwide, and shouldn’t be treaded around lightly! And not only HIV/AIDS but also other STI’s. How many detailed answers could I get if I asked people what they knew about Chlaymidia, Hepatitis or Syphilis? I bet the results would be much like those of the ones I recieved about HIV/AIDS a couple of weeks ago.
A big question I have is one for society to contemplate. Why can’t some more of the tax collected be directed to HIV/AIDS and other medical research institutes, even if this may mean a reduction in welfare handouts? Coming from a tax-paying family, I’d feel much better knowing that some of my money would also going to people and foundations that deserve and need it.
When I applied to volunteer in Nepal I had no idea that what I did was going to impact my life in such a strong way. The work I did, the people I cared for, and the environment that I lived in has acted as not only a coming of age experience for myself, but also opened my eyes up to the much needed education that is currently lacking. This blog has acted as a way for me to voice my opinion and concerns regarding HIV/AIDS, and has deepened my desire to want to make a difference! I know I made a difference on the lives of about 20 people in Nepal; imagine the difference the world could make if we all helped in educating and treating.
I hope that through my blog I have reached out to at least one other person who can then reach out to others. Oh and remember to save the date December 1st.
If you would like to sponsor MSPN (where I volunteered) you can transfer money to:
Bank of Kathmandu
A/C Name: FNC/MSPN
Current Account No: 011100053373
Swift Code: BOKLNPKA
Every little bit counts 🙂