What does America’s economic recession have to do with a school teacher in Kenya? A lot more than you realize. If there’s one thing I learned at the World Bank’s World AIDS Day event yesterday, it’s that our lives, economies, and health are all inextricably intertwined on a global scale.
Beldina Atieno (second from the left in the photo) traveled all the way from Nairobi to offer her first hand account of life as an HIV+ school teacher in Africa. Ms. Atieno’s story was both heart-wrenching and eye-opening. She was first diagnosed after her youngest daughter became very ill from an opportunistic infection, which prompted HIV testing in both daughter and mother. After discovering that they were both positive, she was abandoned by her husband and was plunged into poverty and despair. Read more »
This is one awareness day where your coffee habit can make a difference. Starbucks is donating 5¢ to the Global Fund for every Starbucks beverage sold on December 1, 2008 at participating US and Canada locations.
And Dr. Anonymous has a nice post about World AIDS Day, citing this letter from a survivor:
(This is an excerpt from a letter to the editor from the Cleveland Plain Dealer from November 30, 2008):
I am a 20-year survivor living with AIDS, and another World AIDS Day (Monday) is fast approaching. Food trays once left at hospital room doors of those dying from AIDS are now being served. The preventative measure of “gown ing-up” has come and gone. However, the stigma of AIDS has stayed unchanged. Sadly, there are conflicting AIDS transmission fears and infection rates spiraling out of control.
I am blessed in that I am still here, with thinning hair, bifocals and my AARP card in hand. I am living proof of the incredible medical strides made in managing HIV/AIDS. I am blessed in living to see nieces and nephews come into my world and bring forth great-nieces and great-nephews. I am blessed in that I continue to continue. I still grieve for the many friends I’ve lost to AIDS.
This year, another 56,000-plus Americans will become needlessly infected with HIV/AIDS. We know how to prevent HIV infection. We need to wage a War on AIDS in America. We know how to win it.
Robert W. Toth — Cleveland, OH