Appeal to the media to keep reporting about HIV/AIDS- every day is World AIDS Day!
Yesterday was World AIDS day, which means that HIV/AIDS was back in some of the mainstream media, at least on this date. Many journalists and editors seem to think that HIV is not relevant or interesting anymore for their readers and as a direct result of that, new HIV infections keep on rising again in the industralized world. I urge them to take more responsiblity, not just on December 1 but all year long. Sticking your head in the sand won't get us anywhere.
Flemish health organization Sensoa this week announced in their report for 2010 that new HIV infections in Belgium have risen with more than 5,5% compared to 2009, for which we blame the lack of national and ongoing safe sex campaigns and the nonchalant attitude of many people who think that 'If you're seropositive and you take a pill, HIV is easy to control, like diabetes". Right. Not only do antiretrovirals sometimes cause horrible side effects, but don't forget that getting infected is 100% preventable! How difficult can it be? Just use a condom, for chrissakes! No excuses!
On an European level, at the moment there are 250% (!) more new HIV infections than there were 10 years ago and 3 out of 4 of those occur in Eastern Europe, in particular in the Russian Federation. On the other hand, in Africa new HIV infections have been lowered by 21% when compared with 1997, which proves that when you focus on a region and you keep up the good work, after some time you'll get results.
There's still a lot of work to be done in raising awareness among young (and not so young) people and DAA is prepared to do this, but we can't do it alone: we need you and in particular we need the media to help us spread the message, day after day, year after year.
Happy World AIDS Day.
Ninette Murk, founder/creative director Designers agianst AIDS)