Social Death Part of AIDS Tragedy, Says HIV-Positive Advocate
September 9, 2002
One of the worse aspects of living with AIDS is the social death that comes with it, an HIV-positive French Polynesian advocate told a Pacific youth conference in Fiji last week. "People can live through anything. HIV/AIDS is just like any other disease or virus, but what is worse than anything else is having to do it on your own. HIV/AIDS is more than sexuality. It's not about love and caring but about the lack of it. I wish all our leaders would just acknowledge that sex is what we practice and we need to talk about it more," said Maire Bopp Dupont, a journalism graduate of the University of the South Pacific. She urged Pacific island nations not to wait until "HIV/AIDS is everywhere you look." She said there was a need to foster more understanding to allow people living with HIV/AIDS to exist without stigma and discrimination. Dupont stressed the need to let go of cultural and religious inhibitions.Adapted from:
The conference is a UNICEF initiative. Its catalyst was the practical exclusion of small Pacific island nations from any meaningful discussion during last year's International Congress on AIDS in Asia and Pacific in Melbourne. "The delegates from the Asia-Pacific region were left in a corner with more emphasis on the bigger countries which had more delegates or clout so we thought, why not have one of our own?" said UN official Dr. Ayoade Olatunbosum-Alakija.
UNICEF Pacific representative Nancy Terreri said "new statistics show that there are 14,000 new infections daily in the world and of this, 6,000 are of people between the ages of 15-24 years -- nearly half are the young people." Terreri said she was hopeful the meeting would generate a wider recognition for the need to further develop capacity of youth to "change the course."
Agence France Presse
09.02.02; Matelita Ragogo
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.