Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day

(Newer posts below this one)

It doesn't seem like so long ago that puzzling reports of a new kind of "cancer" started making their way out of the health, science and special interest sections and onto the front pages of newspapers. The disease wasn't cancer -- cancer was just one of its many faces. It was 26 years ago, the disease was AIDS, and it would go on to kill millions as it cut a vicious, virulent swath through every class, culture and country in the world. All these years later, it's killing us still:

"PARIS (AFP) — Activists sought Saturday to keep the battle against HIV in the public eye on World AIDS Day in the face of growing complacency amid progress in treating and slowing the spread of the disease.

Even the Miss World beauty pageant on the Chinese holiday island of Sanya was enlisted to get out the message that the disease daily kills some 6,000 people."

Who would have imagined back then that AIDS would even still be around by the new millenium, let alone claiming lives in such horrifying numbers? Who could have imagined that those we appoint to safeguard us from such things would have fumbled so badly in their response to HIV, and done so for the most despicable of reasons.

Certainly there's been progress -- many who would have been dead 15 years ago are living with the disease as a chronic condition rather than a death sentence. But with all the resources at our disposal, if we haven't eradicated HIV by now our priorities are tragically misplaced.