Friday, December 01, 2006

red ribbons

world aids day.

keep it wrapped.

fight aids.

kofi annan has a good message about accountability, the theme of this year's world aids day. if you read it carefully, it is pretty much saying that the developed world is not doing enough. i'd agree. so would stephen lewis, one of my favourite canadians.


lu said...

now both the links work. sorry about that. i should really check these things. but it is like proofreading your own work and who does that?!

Dan said...


While I agree that the developed world could and should do more to help the AIDS endemic, I didn’t feel that the message showed that. The words are very ambiguous and could be taken to mean so many things.

Here are my thoughts:

As a person who has lost a family member to AIDS, I am often wonder how we can help places like Africa where the disease is most prevalent. It seems that much of Africa is burdened by overpopulation. This overpopulation has lead to over farming and ecological destruction which in turn leads to even less farmable land; a downward spiral of poverty, starvation and an economy that will never get off the ground. On top of all of this, there is AIDS. I think that the frequency of AIDS is a byproduct of the situation.

I admit that I don’t know much about this area and what I have said doesn’t apply through out. It would be interesting to hear your view.

I have two questions for you:

1) Do you think the sky high rates of AIDS in Africa are a byproduct of the situation?

2) What should be done or improved from where we stand now?


lu said...

re: annan's words, he is the secretary-general of the un, which although many people believe puts him in the position to speak out on issues important to him, he can't. he was chosen (as are all secretaries general) for his diplomacy and disconnection from any definitive political perspective, so he can never really say things like, 'bush's pepfar programme is counteracting prevention campaigns in africa' even if he really thinks that.

he mentions political will and the millennium development goals (mdgs). the mdgs are great on paper and were agreed upon by the world's richest countries. but they are going to fail miserably. 6 years into the mdgs and the prevalence of hiv/aids hasn't been reduced. the reason? not enough political will. you can't fight terrorism AND aids, it seems. the $20 billion needed each year to fight aids exists, it is just being spent on things considered more important to wealthy countries.

having said that, i like what the global fund is doing. and thanks to bill gates and warren buffett, their budgets have dramatically increased. the global fund seems to be a streamlined, efficient organisation that hasn't been inflated with bureaucracy and politics in its short history. hopefully the organisation can be the template for future endeavours.

re: the population in africa. africa is the most sparesly populated continent. the cities are overpopulated, but the rural areas are not. environmental practices are absolutely connected with disease prevention and eradication though and Wangari Maathai is the kenyan woman who won the nobel peace prize in 2004 links the empowerment of women, environmentalism, and poverty. she has recently published a book that is on my To Read list. saying that the farming practices are to blame is simplifying a rather complicated issue. again, this is about education, livelihoods, cash crops, import/export surpluses and gaps, farming subsidies in the developed world, and harsh weather conditions, if its not flooding around here, it is a drought!

re: what should be done... there is so much to be done. just not enough money with which to do it. you can't fight a disease without fighting poverty, you can't fight poverty without fighting environmental degradation, you can't fight environmental degradation without fighting corruption, you can't fight corruption without fighting disease. you can't fight aids without fighting tb, malaria, other sti's, hunger, and malnutrition. the reality is that it is all so interconnected that there is no simple answer to what we should be doing. a lot of it is already happening, but just without the financial resources and political will to achieve levels of success that are noticeable and sustainable.

i hope this answers you questions.

and as i mentioned in an earlier post, if you are not sure what you can do, go to and buy a mosquito net!