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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day 2009

World Aids Day 2009 is December 1, 2009. According to, World AIDS Day is an "international day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world."

CNN's Sara Sidner recently reported on AIDS awareness in Afghanistan and how a radio soap opera is helping.

CNN also reported last week on an UN report on the spread of the disease: U.N. report: New HIV Infections Decreasing

New HIV infections have fallen worldwide by 17 percent over the past eight years, a testament to prevention efforts, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

In addition, the number of people living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has increased, and over the last five years, AIDS deaths have declined by 10 percent, thanks to antiretroviral drug therapy and access to lifesaving treatments, said the report by the Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS and World Health Organization.

However, not all the news was good as researchers found evidence that some prevention programs miss the mark because they are not tailored for different populations affected by the epidemic.

Success was seen particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where new infections declined about 15 percent, or some 400,000 people, according to the report.

However, that area remains the region hardest-hit by the virus, accounting for 67 percent of infections worldwide, the report said. "The epidemic continues to have an enormous impact on households, communities, businesses, public services and national economies in the region," it said.


Source:, November 24, 2009, U.N. report: New HIV Infections Decreasing

Other recent HIV/ AIDS related CNN stories:

Pakistan's HIV cricket team are positive role models

Cricket is the national sport in Pakistan, but what makes the First Positive Cricket Team stand out from all the other Karachi-based clubs is that its members are all HIV positive.

The team was put together a year ago by the Pakistan Society, an NGO working for the rights of people living with HIV. They played -- and won -- their first match in August, and haven't looked back.

Dr. Saleem Azam, president of the Pakistan Society, told CNN, "Every time they play the players have a boost physically, emotionally and psychologically, and they feel a lot better."


Source: CNN Internationl, Pakistan's HIV cricket team are positive role models

HIV+ soccer team scores against stigma

Somebody told me about a group of HIV positive ladies in the Epworth Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) clinic in Zimbabwe who had formed a football team and every time they won a match, they would march through the clinic in their football jerseys singing uplifting songs in order to inspire other HIV-infected people like them.

When I heard the story it was hard to believe. Epworth is one of the poorest townships in Zimbabwe. It has a high prevalence of HIV, more than one in four are infected, and yet despite this high number, the stigma against people with HIV is horrendous.

Women especially get the worst of this. They are scorned, shunned, laughed at, kicked out of their house by their landlord, husband (who was the one who infected them in the first place) or their in-laws.

So it was hard for me to imagine these women declaring their status publicly and to do so by playing football -- women in Zimbabwe don't play football.


Source: CNN International, HIV+ soccer team scores against stigma

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