1 December 2008 signals the 20th anniversary of World Aids Day. This year’s campaign is “Lead. Empower. Deliver. Stop Aids. Keep the Promise.” We cannot only rely on government, business or Aids activists to take the lead. Each of us should take a stand.
Lead. Empower. Deliver. STOP AIDS. KEEP THE PROMISE
The good news is that Manto Tshabala-Msimang is out and Barbara Hogan is in as Minister of Health. In her opening address on 2 October 2008, she was emotional as she spoke of the privilege and honour to assist those suffering with HIV and Aids.
“My goodness, to be given that privilege to actually help, is a gift that I am really grateful for.” Hogan said that she had planned to retire from Parliament and reclaim her personal life, but that the plight of those who suffer compelled her to accept the appointment. “I think we underestimate the heroism of the people who live with this kind of burden.”
Hogan said that she was aware of the huge task that faced her department, but that she was confident that it could address the challenges. A tall order considering that South Africa is the country with the greatest number of HIV infections in the world, with some 5.5 million people in the country of 48 million living with the disease. In SA, the prevalence of HIV/Aids in the adult population is 18.8%.
On the agenda is the Aids vaccine, the crisis of Aids orphans and roll out of antiretroviral programmes. It is a tall order, but her intentions are honourable.
We cannot only rely on government, business or Aids activists to take the lead. You know where you stand with regard to HIV/Aids. Lead in your homes, at your workplace and in social circles. Empower yourself with more knowledge. Make a promise to yourself to do what you can to stop Aids and deliver on your promise.
During the 2008 International Aids Conference in Mexico City, people from around the world made their pledges to stop Aids. You can join this campaign. Choose a personal pledge from the following:
- Speak to my family about HIV/Aids
- Volunteer or donate to an Aids cause
- Know my HIV status
- If you are HIV+, choose to be HIV well
- Be a friend to a person living with HIV/Aids
- Know more about HIV/Aids
- Make your own pledge …