December: Celebrating World Aids/HIV

Dear Readers, do not be puzzled by the title - it is not what it seems.



As we are in the month of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, this calls for celebration. Every post I will put up this month will be celebrating one thing or the other and it is worth participating and joining me to do this.

December 1st was World Aids Day but due to the hustle and bustle in the life of Mona, I was unable to blog that day. This however does not stop me from blogging about it and reaching out. Celebrating World Aids/HIV means celebrating the increased awareness, increase in treatment and prevention of HIV and Aids. Please read this post and be more aware. Thanks xx




Looking closely at HIV in Africa - Nigeria in particular:

Among approximately 130 million citizens, at least four million adults live with HIV/AIDS. Recent studies reveal an alarming rate of increase in cases of HIV infection among children, 90 percent of which is due to mother-to-child transmission. Because so many people carry the virus, Nigeria stands at a vulnerable intersection, facing a much larger AIDS epidemic: recent studies indicate that as many as 15 million Nigerians will be HIV positive by 2010 unless urgent action takes place now.


I really don't need to say much or give a long lecture. A lot of us know the facts, are aware and know how to prevent, test or treat other people who are victims thanks to lack of ignorance. However, there are millions more who are totally unaware of the causes, prevention, etc. Take England for instance, still 1 in 5 youths between 15 and 49 do not know that it can be contacted through sexual contact. This is a country where the population is a lot more literate than many African countries (no offence) so I imagine there are hundreds of thousands who are still very ignorant about HIV/Aids.




Worse, still there are so many Africans/Nigerians who treat HIV positive and/or Aids victims inappropriately. These are human beings living with a sickness (not necessarily minor) but it is due to our lack of education that makes us treat people as such and for others, it is a general fear, uncertainty and lack of accurate information.


(To read articles, click to enlarge)


Betty Irabor, for instance, publicly apologised after writing an article in Genevieve Magazine that made her appear extremely ignorant about HIV positive mother - Yinka Jegede Ekpe. A lot of readers were offended. See her apology on Bella's blog.

World Aids Day encourages awareness and support from everyone to fight the war against Aids and HIV.

Companies such as Shell Nigeria and Total ensure their employees are made aware and have made commitments to enforce this in the workplace.

See Shell's commitment here
Total Nigeria's company policy includes non-discrimination against HIV positive employees - here

Census.gov stats on HIV/Aids in Nigeria - link




For people interested in getting into the nitty gritty, you can access this document on what HIV/Aids means for Nigeria.

What the Nigerian Government is doing - (i) Antiretroviral Programs [read] (ii) Nigeria HIV/Aids Summit




What You and I Can Do:

(i) Support the Cause in any way you can

JoinRed -By supporting joinred.com provides an HIV/Aids victim with 2 pills a day: you are providing an HIV patient in Africa with the medicine they need to return to health. This transformation occutrs after about the first 60 days of a 2-pill a day treatment regimen.

Supporters include - Gap Clothing [www.gap.com/red]; Converse Footwear [www.makeminered.com]; Apple iPod [www.apple.com/ipod/red]; Hallmark Cards [www.hallmark.com/red]; Motorola [www.motorola.com/red]; American Express (UK Only [www.americanexpressred.co.uk]; Emporio Armani [www.emporioarmaniproductred.com]

By buying any of the products listed in the above websites, you are providing 2 pills a day. However, more can still be done:

Support HIV/Aids organisations in Nigeria - visit NigeriaHivInfo.com

(ii) Educate others - if you are AIDS aware, find a way to pass the message on, even to younger ones.

(iii) Practise safe sex - abstinence is the best option but if you are going to do it, use a condom to prevent HIV/Aids through sexual contact. HIV/Aids can be contacted in many other forms but this is the most prevalent mode of contact.


(iv) Get Tested - many people risk the chance of spreading this disease if they refuse to get tested out of fear or ignorance

(v) Do not discriminate against anyone you are aware of who has the virus


Celebrities like Fela Kuti and Julia Roberts are also supporting the cause, not to talk of Bono, etc.

See Julia's red bracelet - link
See Femi Kuti article on Fela, the shrine, HIV/Aids and being a UNICEF Ambassador - link




Excerpt:

In July of 1997, one of Fela’s dancers-turned-wife, Alero Obutu-Kuti also lost her life to the disease. In a report of Inter Press Service filed by Remi Oyo, January 18 , 2000, Alero was admitted at the general hospital in Lagos for AIDS-related complications. “Kuti, 43, with two children, says her illness, for which there is no known cure, is worsening”. “I am afraid I am going to die.” Alero Kuti disclosed her status in November of 1999.
Femi was soon to inherit the legion of Fela’s fans that continue to miss their hero dearly, and was daily proving that he is capable of continuing where daddy stopped. With his band, the Positive Force, he had established a distinct identity for himself, while still drawing largely from his father’s goodwill. He once declared to patrons “I can’t do what my father did, I can’t act like my father to support the way you are ruining your lives.” A visit to the Shrine will confirm if Femi is able to keep his words.

Please let us join the fight against HIV/Aids so we can CELEBRATE LIFE INSTEAD :o) See videos below:







Other Resources:
http://www.ng.undp.org/hivaids.shtml - United Nations Development Programme
http://www.magicjohnson.org - The Magic Johnson Foundation
http://www.nigeria-aids.org/ - Journalists against Aids Nigeria
http://nigeria.unfpa.org/hivandaids.htm - United Nations Population Fund
http://www.sim-nigeria.org/content/blogcategory/66/70/ - SIM Nigeria and Mobile Testing clinics
http://www.aidsalliance.org/sw7216.asp - International HIV/Aids Alliance

10 comments:

CONSCIOUSNESS said...

...yes Ms. Mona!!

oodles of respect for coming with that real talk...you are propagating info. through your blog extremely responsibly and it's certainly not going unnoticed...well done + do keep it up!!

...keep doing it cuz u're doing it well...

peeeeeaaacee!!
C!!

finz said...

Well-written and well-said Aramide. This is a really important issue affecting our generation, and we cannot say too much about it. I will pass on the message.

notjustok said...

very uncomfortable subject, but it is real and serious none the less... Guyz and Females protect yourself out there and be Aware!... Nice one Mona, you put in work on this one...


www.notjustok.com

Mari said...

Great piece, dear.

taiyelolu joan said...

great piece..well written.....points noted

Unbiased said...

hmmm so where are these test happening. I got tested this year but as you know oyinbo pple dont give you copy of test result. I just want a copy to hold like a certificate. lol!!
Are you in naija this xmas? Twill be great to bump into you again.

Mona said...

thanks peeps - pls pass it on

unbiased who art thou? :o)

Positive girl said...

Nice work, well done..

Positive girl said...

unfortunately the banks are still discriminating...you have to get a full medical done before your employment interview is complete.

STREETBRAND said...

You have done a good job raising awareness of a very serious issue.