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Monday, December 01, 2003


World AIDS Day

posted by annatopia at Monday, December 01, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
We would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge that today is World AIDS Day. Here are some sobering statistics, courtesy of UNAIDS (these are current as of the end of 2002):
- There are 38.6 million adults living with AIDS and over 42 million total infected with HIV
- There are 3.2 million children living with HIV/AIDS
- During 2002, there were 5 million people infected with HIV
- Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35
- 95% of the total number of people with HIV live in the developing world
- The African continent has the highest per capita infection rate
- Over 18 million people have already died from AIDS-related causes (this includes over 4 million children)

Governor Dean's statement is here, and Out for Dean has released a statement as well which is very poignant:
World AIDS Day has always been a day of remembrance. We remember and honor those who we have lost in the fight against HIV/AIDS and we draw strength from their memory. In that spirit, we honor and celebrate the lives of our fellow AIDS Activists who have died this past year including Heidi Beddingfield, Carlton Hogan, Joel Martinez, and Evan Ruderman.
Their deaths are a somber reminder that this epidemic is not over. Their deaths are a reminder that even for the privileged few citizens of the world that have access to HIV/AIDS drugs, the medications that we have do not work for everyone. These drugs have short term side effects that people living with HIV/AIDS know all to well, and long term side effects we have yet to fully comprehend. And for many, these medications lose their effectiveness over time, causing people living with HIV/AIDS to try new treatment regimens, until of course, there are no new treatment options left for them.
That is why, while it is important to remember our dead this World AIDS Day, it is equally important that we continue to fight like hell for the living.

Indeed it is, and that includes those living in the southern United States. While this is truly a global crisis, I'd like to focus on American for a moment. The southern states have seen a surge in HIV infections, accounting for 46% of all new infections. African Americans and women in the south are particularly vulnerable. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (not known for being part of the SCLM) concludes that, "The South is more greatly plagued by AIDS and HIV infections because of racial and economic differences and a conservative cultural attitude that interferes with attempts to halt the disease." And let us be clear: the domestic health policies of the Bush administration have not done a thing to stop the spread of HIV, nor have his global policies. Planned Parenthood said it best when they summed up GWB's record on HIV prevention:

Earlier this year, President Bush made the welcome announcement that he would dramatically increase U.S. funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care in Africa and the Caribbean. Just weeks later, however, the administration made public its intent to expand the application of the global gag rule to all U.S. global health assistance, including funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services in developing countries. In addition, it is increasingly clear that the administration and right-wing members of Congress intend to funnel the bulk of the new HIV/AIDS money to religious organizations that have a very narrow, abstinence-based approach to HIV/AIDS prevention that excludes condoms.

Let's also take note of the fact that Bush doesn't have a real domestic health care policy, and in order to prevent the spread of HIV among Americans you've got to have some kind of battle plan. Sorry George, but privatising Medicare isn't a solution to this problem.
And remember Bush's SOTU pledge to fight HIV globally? Well let me tell you, it was yet another bait-n-switch. Read this excellent rebuttal, and focus on the HIV funding. Bush is not dumping another dime into the Global Fund, he's shifted most of the HIV funding into abstinence-only education, and he's fought to protect the patents of American drug companies while millions waste away from HIV and AIDS.
Today, please take a moment to think about this crisis and what you can do to help prevent the spread of HIV. You can educate, you can donate (each letter is a separate link), and you can help by speaking out and electing a President who'll actually focus on this problem instead of adopting Bush's laissez-faire approach.

*This post is in honor of my friend Brent Decoteau, who succumbed to AIDS-related pneumonia in 1999*
*NOTE: Some of these servers are very overloaded today (that's a GoodThing!), so if the links don't load the first time, retry later.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.