Monday, 01 December 2014 09:52

Reflections on World AIDS Day: Mpho

Written by  Mpho Motiang

World AIDS Day 2014When I think about world AIDS day, I realize there are things I have not thought about in a long time, including the fact that it is supposed to be a day of enlightenment; a day of commemoration as well as celebration. It is a day to celebrate the heroes that came in this new "struggle", as well as the advocates that have risen to champion the case of all South Africans.

 

We are meant to remember that we are all united under one cause, to eradicate HIV, but the bigger picture is that we are actually coming together to address society's deepest wounds: gender based violence, racism, inequality, unequal access to resources, poverty and maternal death rates. These things have all been highlighted greatly by the HIV epidemic.

 

In us coming together to find a cure, better treatments and a generally better standard of living for all, we've all had to learn difficult lessons. Life is not as beautiful as we wish it to be, human rights are not respected as they're supposed to be and treatment should not to be withheld or overlooked.

 

As much as there have been negatives around HIV there have also been many positives: greater openness in society in regards to sexuality; new policies to accommodate those who cannot access services; and less discrimination against those who were previously excluded from these services. Treatment standards have risen, mother to child transmission has significantly dropped, and prenatal care has been made a further priority.

 

World AIDS day can mean a lot of things, but it is no longer just a candle being lit to remember, but it is also a flame to push us forward.

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