WORLD AIDS DAY – 1st December 2012

When you work in some African countries you get used to hearing about the devastating affects of HIV/AIDS. Very few familes are not touched by death and illness from HIV/AIDS. I was sat at lunch during a workshop in Kadoma, Zimbabwe and the two people I was having lunch with were affected . One had lost both parents to AIDS and the other , from a big family, where 4 out of the 10 of his brothers and sisters in his family had died of AIDS.

While walking through a village in Uganda there was no one alive between the ages of 18-40 and grandparents were the only ones left looking after their grandchildren.

world-aids-dayalso I remember people being infected by HIV  in Guyana through visiting a hospital and being given untested and untreated blood products. The hospital could not afford the ‘less than a dollar’ testing strips.

In several countries the teaching force has been decimated by  AIDS, losing experienced and trained teachers and being replaced by untrained teachers.

So although WORLD AIDS DAY 2012 has a slogan   -“Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths” we still have some way to go.

From WHO:

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that infects cells of the immune system, destroying or impairing their function. As the infection progresses, the immune system becomes weaker, and the person becomes more susceptible to infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It can take 10-15 years for an HIV-infected person to develop AIDS; antiretroviral drugs can slow down the process even further.

HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse (anal or vaginal), transfusion of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles, and between a mother and her infant during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

actaware-logo-colour2

Some more facts and links from the site for World Aids Day

Why is World AIDS Day important?

Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

What should I do on World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.

World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to raise money for NAT (National AIDS Trust) and show your support for people living with HIV. If you feel inspired to hold an event, bake sale or simply sell red ribbons, click here to get started. If you’d like to see what other events are taking place — click here and find out more.

But what about after World AIDS Day?

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round. That’s why NAT has launched HIVaware — a fun, interactive new website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. Why not use what you have learnt on World AIDS Day to Act Aware throughout the year and remember, you can fundraise at any time of year too — NAT is always here to give you suggestions and ideas.

UNESCO HIV and AIDS – Education Clearinghouse Newsletter March – April 2012

Working in East Africa frightens you in terms of the devastation to families that has been caused by HIV/AIDS. Few families have not been affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. In some vilages you see no parents  -the children live with grandparents or other caregivers -their parents have died.  The following resource updates us on the situation for young people and how they can be supported.

(UNESCO HIV and AIDS – Education Clearinghouse)

To coincide with the new UNESCO and GNP+ publication “Positive Learning”, this issue focuses on resources related to young people living with HIV and how the education sector can best support their needs. Also included are resources on gender, girls, and tertiary education, recent policy and strategy documents, and practical guides for implementing responses to HIV and AIDS.

 

To access this resource, click here

International Women’s Day – 8th March 2012

2012 Theme: CONNECTING GIRLS, INSPIRING FUTURES

If every International Women’s Day event held in 2012 includes girls in some way, then thousands of minds will be inspired globally.

Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Organisations, governments, charities and women’s groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs -IWD

Some examples of resources:

Below are examples of some great International Women’s Day resources to share:

– UN Women Secondary School Kit 2012
– Deloitte’s International Women’s Day Toolkit
– We are Equals posters, badges and stickers
– Celebrating Working Women International Women’s Day video

Previous United Nations International Women’s Day themes:

– 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology
– 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
– 1975: First IWD celebrated by the United Nations

And if you want a longer historical perspective:

 

From Cultural Survival

In the spirit of the historical value of International Women’s Day, it is also important to understand the struggles Indigenous women face. Gender based violence and gender discrimination is an everyday reality for many Indigenous women. A 1999 study of the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually violated than women in the United States in general. In Canada, the rate of single mother Aboriginal families is nearly double that of the general population (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada). In the Somali region of Ethiopia, a recent survey found that the literacy rate for female pastoralists was 4.8 percent, compared to a 22.7 percent literacy rate for male pastoralists (UNPFII).

 

While these examples paint the gravity of the challenges Indigenous women face, it can also be said that the spirits of Indigenous women remain unbreakable. One of the many things Indigenous women have taught us is that where there is struggle, there is strength, and where there is persecution, there is endurance. While Indigenous women are more likely to be robbed of their lands and languages, there are many Indigenous women like jessie little doe Baird and her language apprentices from the Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts, who are revitalizing threatened languages. And while Indigenous women often lack political representation, there are increasing numbers of Indigenous women serving as local, regional, and national representatives as in Peru and Venezuela where Indigenous women have been elected members of their national parliaments. Read more.

  • Watch. Celebrate International Women’s Day and U.S. Women’s History Month with the Independent Television Service’s online film festival featuring “extraordinary women and girls on the front lines of change around the world.” Watch We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân through March 31st and meet Cultural Survival’s Endangered Languages Program partners at the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project: jessie little doe Baird and language apprentices Nitana Hicks, Tracy Kelley, and Melanie Roderick, and the Wampanoag Nation of southeastern Massachusetts.

WORLD AIDS DAY -December 1st , 2011

I have just written a post on children and discrimination and in many countries children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS are still discriminated against. While I was working in Guyana I discovered that patients entering a hospital could easily be given infected blood as they did not have the blood testing equipment. The blood tests worked out just a few pence each , but if you don’t have the kits or equipment….

INEE has again come up with a list of helpful resources:

KEY INFORMATION on HIV/AIDS

 

How many are affected by HIV and AIDS?

At the end of 2010, UNAIDS and WHO estimated that around 34 million people are living with HIV worldwide, while 2.7 million persons have been newly infected with HIV, including an estimated 390,000 children, and 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related diseases (down from a peak of 2.2 million in the mid-2000s). The 2011 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report also highlights that thanks to introduction of anti-retroviral therapy, a total of 2.5 million deaths have been avoided in low- and middle-income countries since 1995. Much of that achievement has taken place in the past two years when the access to treatment rapidly expanded; in 2010 alone, 700,000 AIDS-related deaths were averted.

Eliminating New HIV Infection among Children

The Global Plan, developed by UNAIDS, as part of the Millennium Development Goals, aims to eliminate, by 2015, new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive. Although this plan covers all low- and middle-income countries, its main focus is on 22 countries (mostly in the sub-Saharan Africa) with the highest estimated numbers of pregnant women living with HIV. To prevent new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive, pregnant women living with HIV and their children need anti-retroviral drugs. When antiretroviral drugs are used as prophylaxis, HIV transmission can be reduced to less than 5%.

The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education

A UNESCO report stresses that children are the most affected group as a result of HIV/AIDS, as they live with sick relatives in households with constrained resources. If one or both of their parents are ill or die, they are often left emotionally and physically vulnerable, and it is very common that they are taken out of school in order to care for the sick and contribute to the family income. Girls are disproportionately affected in this case. The report also highlights that teachers living with HIV are often absent due to the illness or medical treatment. Consequently, pupils are left without any schooling because of shortage of teachers.

KEY RESOURCES on HIV/AIDS

 

Guidance on HIV in Education in Emergencies (online here) 

Developed by the INEE Task Team on HIV and the UNAIDS Task Team on Education, this tool provides information for education practitioners who provide, manage or support education services in emergencies. It provides guidance for mainstreaming HIV and sexual and reproductive health issues into formal and nonformal education responses for adolescents 10-19 years old.

World Aids Campaign — www.worldaidscampaign.org

Specialises in promoting the skills, knowledge and strategies required to successfully campaign, advocate and lobby on universal access.

World Aids Day — www.worldaidsday.org

Facts on HIV, awareness raising, events, video messages from politicians and celebrities who support the tackling of HIV.

UNAIDS — www.unaids.org

Key publications, Guidance, 2010 Progress report, data and statistics, UNAIDS Strategy 2010-2015, resources.

and some story telling:

WORLD AIDS DAY – no time to waste…. 01-12-2010

WORLD AIDS DAY 2010

Don’t forget the next generation…..

Another World Aids Day and it seems that many people have lost sight or interest in maintaining the momentum to fight the spread and treatment of the disease. Here is a statement by the director of UNESCO on the part that education has to play:

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 1 December 2010

World AIDS Day is a moment to recall the devastating losses caused to individuals, households and communities across the world by the impact of HIV and AIDS. It is also a chance to review where we stand today in tackling the epidemic. The disease remains a major global challenge, but I am pleased this year to bring a message of progress.

Rates of new HIV infections are falling or stabilizing in most regions of the world. Earlier this year, a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS indicated a decline in new cases of HIV among young people of more than 25 per cent between 2001 and 2008 in 15 key countries in sub-Saharan Africa . Overall, declines in HIV prevalence have been most notable among young people aged 15–24. This has reflected safer behaviours and practices, including delayed sexual debut, partner reduction and increased condom use. These trends place young people at the heart of measures for HIV prevention — as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and its cosponsors, including UNESCO, have been advocating.

However, decline in prevalence among young people is not universal. Nor is it equal. Worldwide, more than 60 per cent of all young people living with HIV are female. Young women still shoulder a greater burden of infection. In many countries, women face their greatest risk of infection before the age of 25.

Education is the key to success. In school, girls gain the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to delay marriage and sexual activity. HIV infection rates are halved among people who finish primary school. It has been estimated that universal primary completion could result in preventing 700,000 additional cases of HIV each year.

School attendance is enormously beneficial in itself, but targeted prevention education is vital. Evidence shows that quality prevention education can shape knowledge and attitudes among young people about HIV and AIDS. It can build the new skills that are required and lay the foundation for the behaviour changes that are necessary in so many societies.

We are working in these directions. In December 2009, UNESCO published the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization. This is a major contribution to support efforts that strengthen HIV prevention with young people. Published in two volumes, the Technical Guidance offers evidence-informed and age-specific objectives for learners, so that they can make responsible choices about their sexual and social relationships in a world affected by HIV.

UNESCO will draw on all of its strengths in moving forward. This starts with a multidisciplinary mandate and a broad capacity to promote rights-based approaches. Our Intersectoral Platform on HIV and AIDS joins the resources of all UNESCO’s sectors, institutes and field offices. Our objective is to promote inclusive responses to the epidemic that are scientifically accurate and culturally appropriate, taking in also the gender dimension.

We cannot let progress slip. Especially at a time of economic austerity, we must remain engaged to sustain and deepen hard-won gains against the epidemic. UNESCO and its partners must find more effective ways of tackling the social and structural factors that enable the epidemic to remain a global challenge. These include gender inequality and widespread stigma and discrimination.

The evidence is clear. Empowering young people through education to make informed decisions must lie at the heart of prevention. UNESCO’s efforts to secure quality education for all, our actions in support of the Millennium Development Goals, fall in line with this objective. This World Aids Day inspires us all to continue working in these directions.

From the Hunger Project:

World AIDS Day 2009 was commemorated under the theme of “Universal Access and Human Rights” and in 2010, the theme continues with ”Lights4Rights”.

All people, regardless of HIV/AIDS status, have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. They must have the right to protect themselves from the virus and have access to treatment if infected.

Discriminatory practices – which put people at risk from contracting HIV, prevent them from accessing medical care, and prohibit them from living full and meaningful lives – must end.