Lest we forget…

That tomorrow is World AIDS Day and the entire month of December is AIDS Awareness Month. I feel that the fact that UC Elections, midterms, final clubs new members events, etc. are going on should not take away from people getting involved with this global problem. There are myriad events on campus from the Medical School to the School of Public Health that will be happening this week. In my expanded post, I’ve included events that will be taking place on campus this week. Hopefully these events will bring about awareness that will eventually result in positive action in each of their attendees. (more in expanded post)
7-10 pm Emerson Hall 105
Philadelphia- When a man with AIDS is fired by a conservative law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

*Wednesday, Nov 30*7-10 pm Kirkland House JCR
State of Denial- an unprecedented and unflinching look at how the citizens of South Africa are living with the AIDS epidemic, given the climate of governmental confusion and neglect.

*World AIDS Day, Thursday, Dec 1*
7-10 pm Yenching Auditorium or Thompson Room, Barker Center (watch posters for final location)
And the Band Played On; the story of the start of the AIDS epidemic, stigma, and the political infighting of the scientific community.
“The HIV Roentgenogram Reveals Serious Structural Weaknesses in Public Health”
DR. DONALD P. FRANCIS, MD, PhD, Executive Director of Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases

*Friday, Dec 2*
7-10 pm Yenching Auditorium
Pandemic: Facing AIDS; Forty million lives. Twenty years of AIDS. Five stories. One pandemic. Covers the key aspects of the world AIDS epidemic through powerful documentary stories about five patients and their communities, on five continents.

Free food will be served at all film events.

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2 responses to “Lest we forget…

  1. Thank you SO much, Chimaobi, for writing this. It’s really unfortunate that World AIDS Day, a day of international significance and remembrance, is trumped by campus politics at Harvard simply because of its timing (I wrote an op-ed about this last year actually: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=505023).

    FYI, this year’s World AIDS Day theme is “Keeping the Promise,” and is a call for international bodies, national governments, and private players to actually meet the targets they have set. The following targets are particularly under scrutiny:
    The WHO and UNAIDS’s “3 by 5 initiative.” This initiative hoped to provide 3 million people access to antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2005 (this exact goal is nearly impossible at this point, but AIDS activists want them to continue working toward increased access).
    The UNGASS Declaration of Commitment, which was signed by every UN member in 2001. Under this declaration, member states committed themselves to reduce HIV prevalence by 25% by the end of 2005, ensure that 90% of young people have access to HIV-related information and services, reduce proportion of HIV-infected infants by 20%, and increase annual HIV/AIDS spending to $7-10 billion in low- and middle-income countries.
    The UN Millenium Development Goals. These were also signed by all UN member states, and they have particularly agreed to halt and begin to reverse the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2015.

    As for some quick statistics about HIV/AIDS, if you’re interested:
    — There are currently 40.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS
    — 4.9 million people were newly infected this year
    — 3.1 million people died this year of HIV/AIDS
    — Women are increasingly becoming infected by HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, 57% of new infections are in women and girls.
    — India recently surpassed South Africa in having the most absolute number of HIV/AIDS cases. Exact estimates are hard to come by (especially given stigma and bad reporting), but UNAIDS says there were 5 million by the end of 2003, and I’m sure that number is much higher now.
    — Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans (i.e., children who have lost one or both parents to HIV)
    — Young people (15-24 — OUR age group!) account for *half* of all new infections worldwide. Over 6,000 of us are infected EVERY DAY.

    I could go on, but if you’re really interested, check out websites like http://www.unaids.org and http://www.avert.org to see what’s going on outside the all-consuming world of campus politics. I urge you all to come out to the remaining two films, and to talk to Matt (basilico@fas) if you want to become more involved in helping reverse the pandemic.

    (Sorry, I know this isn’t the traditional kind of comment, but it is an issue I’m really passionate about, and I really want as many Harvard students as possible to know what’s going on)

  2. Also check out an op-ed in today’s Crimson by Matthew Basilico, Luke Messac, and Sarah Moran.

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