Nov 30, 2005


World AIDS Day: Red ribbons and more

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day: Wear a red ribbon. Read about HIV/AIDS and empower yourself with up-to-date and correct information. If you have a friend or relative with HIV and AIDS, give him/her extra special attention. Email your a congressperson or senator to support House Bill 4357 whick would provide better AIDS education and funding for AIDS prevention and control. You could also attend the AIDS concert at The Fort.

This afternoon (Nov. 30, Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Satur Ocampo led a red ribbon drive in Congress. More than 40 congressmen and women crossed partylines for this significant political statement and united in wearing red ribbons. Ocampo is the principal author of HB 4357.

People with AIDS in the Philippines number only about 10,000. But this could be a very conservative estimate. More importantly, various agencies and groups fear a possible increase of AIDS and HIV incidence in view of rising drug use and the vulnerability of certain segments of the population: the youth and migrant workers.

Contrary to popular belief, AIDS/HIV is not a "gay" disease. Everyone -- man or woman, straight or not, old or young, rich or poor -- could be infected and die.

The Philippine government should also do its job by ensuring the manufacture and supply of anti-retroviral drugs -- just like what the Cuban and Thai governments did to their peoples. Such drugs are important for the treatments of HIV/AIDS patient and should not be allowed to be mere sources of obscene superprofits by multinational drug companies. Another area the government should look into is the dissemination of AIDS information through AIDS education across all school levels and in workplaces and in orientation seminars for prospective migrant workers.

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