UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared AIDS “the
greatest challenge of our generation.”
It is a challenge because there is no cure for AIDS. But
it is also a challenge because we have the resources and potential to prevent
deaths and possibly eradicate AIDS, but our concern has yet to surface. If we
don’t have it, then it is not our problem. That seems to be most people’s
reactions for lack of action.
Developed countries have access to treatment that can
ease the pain, drugs that can prevent an HIV-infected woman from passing the
infection to her unborn child and health care that allows mothers to give their
babies proper nutrition because AIDS prevents them from breastfeeding.
People in Africa have no such luck. Only 10% of women
infected have access to health care. In 2005, two million people died from AIDS
in Africa which resulted in 12 million orphans, according to AVERT
Annan holds world leaders accountable for change: to
strengthen protection for the weak, work with society for positive change and
to declare “AIDS stops with me.” Annan also commended all of us to work for
change. There is not a cure for AIDS yet, but there are ways to prevent it.
We can raise funds for organizations such as National
AIDS Trust and Product Red campaign. The latter considers itself a business
model where consumers can purchase everyday items with part of the proceeds go
to the Global Fund. Annan is among the world leaders that support and helped
establish The Global Fund in 2002. Its purpose is to rid the world of AIDS by
raising funds and giving grants to countries in need.
We can volunteer for local HIV/AIDS organizations. The
Delta Sigma Theta sorority is hosting a World AIDS Day program Dec. 12 in
various locations on campus. The event will include an AIDS testing station and
“Know Your Status” T-shirts for sale. Funds will go toward an AIDS research
Tiffini Quaker, vice president of Delta Sigma Theta and a
senior electrical engineering major, said her sorority has been a supporter of
AIDS awareness and prevention on a national level so they wanted to bring one
of their sorority’s national programs to a local level.
“This is our first year doing this and we plan to make it
a big event,” Quaker said. “We want to continue to do it every year.”
We can fight against discrimination and prejudice. HIV
discrimination is illegal, but a third of people infected with HIV have been
discriminated due to ignorance, according to the National AIDS Trust.
We can raise awareness by educating people. By informing
people about AIDS, the amount of infected people may decrease and
discrimination against people infected may be reduced. Purchasing a $3 T-shirt
or wearing a red ribbon may seem like an insignificant contribution, but there
could be millions of people making the same small efforts.