Today, December 1st, is World Aids Day.
I’ve been watching lots of films about HIV/AIDS recently and reading a lot on the subject too. As a result I’ve been pressing copies of Stephanie Nolan’s 28 Stories About AIDS in Africa and Elisabeth Pisani’s The Wisdom of Whores into the palms of my friends who are probably thinking “Oh piss off you sanctimonious bore” but I promise you these books are anything but.
SnagFilms are marking the day with two films streaming free online, We Will Not Die Like Dogs (which I’ve linked to below) and India’s Hidden Plague. Misinformation and silence around the disease is still rife in many parts of the world – and the actions and policies of governments and other organizations (like churches for example) make a huge difference in how HIV/AIDS is dealt with on a national level, and how it is treated and perceived by local communities. There was an interesting article in The Guardian last week about a Harvard study that calculated the number of people in South Africa who died because of Mbeki’s denial of the link between HIV and AIDS:
The authors estimate that more than 330,000 people died unnecessarily in South Africa over the period and that 35,000 HIV-infected babies were born who could have been protected from the virus and would probably have a limited life.
There may still be no cure but ARVs are making a huge, positive difference in communities that once stood no chance against the ravages of the disease. So let’s make sure we continue to fight the good fight.