Kenneth Cole created the ad campaign above back in 2005, but it still reflects an ongoing battle as HIV/AIDS continues to destroy lives more than half a decade later.
In 2011, 30 years after the first documented case, the fight against the disease is now more articulate than ever. Organizations and people around the world are banding together in order to educate people about AIDS prevention and treatments.
But in these economically turbulent times, many states are cutting funding to help develop and distribute potentially life-saving medicines. Over 8,300 people in at least thirteen different states are languishing on exorbitantly long waiting lists in order to get AIDS/HIV drugs which slow or cancel out symptoms of the disease. More states have followed suit, in one way or another reducing the availability of treatment.
Celebrities are speaking out against the cuts, saying that for many individuals such medicines are desperately needed. Elton John — founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports AIDS/HIV prevention programs and efforts — wrote to Florida Governor Rick Scott, asking him to reconsider lowing the eligibility for over a thousand people currently awaiting access to treatment.
Richard Branson has made a video detailing how he feels about the situation and how he’s joining the fight to make AIDS care more accesible. You can watch the video here:
Jesse Fry, a member of the Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Network, has said that the proposed budget cuts would have a largely negatively effect on Florida’s work force: “If you cut the eligibility from [the current] 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, that takes out a large income range where people can work and advance in their careers, accept promotions and eventually leave the ADAP system.”
But let’s take a moment to put this in perspective, using numbers we can all understand–even if their enormity and speed it a little hard to grasp: one person in three develops AIDS within a year of being diagnosed with HIV. The UN estimates that around 34 million people live with AIDS/HIV around the world. And every 9 minutes and 30 seconds, someone in the United States is infected with HIV.
To get an even better perspective on the nationwide effect of HIV/AIDS, check out a map of the USA showing the number of people infected as of 2008 here: http://www.aidsvu.org/. (The darker the color, the higher the density of HIV-infected people living in that area.)
Obama has recently said that the U.S. needs help in fighting the AIDS epidemic. He says that while having the disease is “no longer a death sentence“, there are still millions of people who die from AIDS-related conditions every year.
Should safe sex be a basic human right? That’s what some are saying. L is a company that manufactures high quality condoms, and they are all about promoting safe sex. For every condom they sell, they give one away to people in developing countries.
According to L, if safe sex practices were used all over the world, the decline in unwanted pregnancies would decrease greatly. This would cause the cost of abortion and maternal care of go down as well. L is looking out for the millions of orphans living in the world with AIDS, including the 14 million in Sub-Saharan Africa. Millions! All the best to L and their fight against AIDS.
Also, the Vatican Church – which has previously said that they were completely against the use of condoms – have rethought the topic and are now considering the use of condoms in relation to preventing AIDS.
The Pope himself said that use of condoms, while “not a real or moral solution”, was one step closer to a “moralization” of sexuality. He did not say whether or not condom use was appropriate for married couples, whether one spouse has HIV or not.
The UN is calling for an end to AIDS by 2020. The UN secretary, General Ban Ki-moon has said, “If we are to relegate AIDS to the history books we must be bold. That means facing sensitive issues, including men who have sex with men, drug users and the sex trade.“
What do you guys think about all this?