Sunday was World AIDS day. Millions of people around the world marked the day to demand better awareness and treatment programs to slow the spread of HIV infection.
In South Africa, over twenty thousand rallied across the country. South Africa has the highest rate of HIV infected people than any other country in the world.
Thousands took to the streets in Hanoi and Bangkok, while India staged a marathon to raise public knowledge of the disease.
In Brazil, hundreds of high school students placed 15,000 red ribbons before the health ministry. That is the number of Brazilians who contracted HIV this year.
In Malawi, the government warned that AIDS is decimating the civil service and the economy. A recent study found that high schools in Malawi are replacing over 75% of their staff every year because teachers die or are too sick to work.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe acknowledged that over 2 million of the country’s 13 million people are HIV positive.
In the U.S. thousands marked World AIDS Day at rallies and memorials across the country.
- Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action, an umbrella organization for African policy groups.
Conservative politicians and advocacy groups are mounting pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the CDC recently removed from its website information on methods to help people prevent AIDS.
The CDC has invited proponents of abstinence-only education to attend a conference on prevention this month. In September, 24 Republican members of Congress asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson to conduct audits of three nonprofit groups that develop sex-education materials. And the US Department of Health and Human Services has changed the makeup of several key advisory committees on AIDS since President Bush took office. Critics say some of the new members have ties to the chemical and energy industries.
- Darlene Weide, Executive Director of the Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco.
- Sharon Anne Lynch, spokesperson for Health GAP and Act-Up NY.