Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for December 1st, 2009

World AIDS Day

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 1st December, 2009

Like many people today, I’ll be wearing my red ribbon, to mark World AIDS Day. It was interesting to see the Daily Mail’s take on the event this morning: they asked whether wearing the ribbon for 1 December had become as obligatory as wearing a poppy for 11 November, because all the contestants on The X Factor were wearing one (reportedly because Simon Cowell insisted). Ah well, at least sometimes our celebrity-obsessed culture can have benefits. But what is impressive is that all round the world, AIDS awareness is growing and free treatment or at least testing is increasingly available. The rates of HIV infection are slowing, but they are still disturbing, especially in those countries where AIDS is likely to be fatal because of the lack of access to antiretrovirals. There are indeed some good things to celebrate, such as President Obama’s lifting of the US travel ban on HIV+ visitors. But there is no room for complacency. There is still huge prejudice against people living with HIV-AIDS and according to recent surveys in Britain, many teenagers are very blasé about the dangers of unsafe sex. So today, please wear your red ribbon with pride, not because Simon Cowell has told us to, but because the world is actively confronting one of the most serious health challenges of our age, even if much more remains to be done.

 

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