Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

FAITH's Renee Gadoua writes about Rev. Michael Bassano, a Roman Catholic Maryknoll priest who has volunteered at a Buddhist temple in Lopburi, Thailand, which houses a hospice and hospital that cares for patients with HIV/AIDS.

[..] Most people, their families have left them or dropped them off at the temple and never come back," he said. "I am their family."

He changes diapers, serves cold drinks, and massages the feet of the suffering.

As he bears witness with patients through illness and pain, Bassano is living Jesus' message to serve the least of our brothers and sisters and Buddha's call to compassion for all beings. [..]

[..] Stifled by stigma and ignorance, many families bring ill relatives to the temple's gates, leave them there and walk away. [..]

There is an audio interview with Rev. Bassano available here.


The Baltimore Sun recently did a feature on HIV researcher David Pauza of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology. Dr. Pauza and his colleagues are testing an HIV vaccine candidate that could halt the spread of the virus. The vaccine would be triggered by a trait that the virus exhibits the moment that it attacks a healthy cell.


Syracuse-area native Richard Gere has received the ninth annual Marion Anderson award for, among his many humanitarian efforts, his work with Healing the Divide, a nonprofit dedicated to helping communities at home and abroad address social and cultural challenges such as HIV/AIDS awareness. The Heroes Project, co-Chaired by Richard Gere and Parmeshwar Godrej, seeks to harness India's communication power and potential to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma and discrimination.


Making the call for and a commitment to renewed leadership on the HIV/AIDS crisis, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that this year’s World AIDS Day theme is ‘Keep the Promise – Leadership.’ She says it's a reminder that we all must do more and that opportunities exist for each of us to do more. Increases in new HIV infections and new AIDS cases in the U.S. will require stronger leadership. Speaker Pelosi points to this year's largest increase in seven years for the Ryan White initiative and pending increases for HIV prevention, the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program, health research at the NIH, and the Early Treatment for HIV Act.


International Carnival of Pozitivities, the blog carnival dedicated to international news and diverse stories about those affected by, living with, fighting against, trying to prevent and educate, and dying from HIV/AIDS can be seen each month at contributors' blogs. Carnival creator Ron Hudson has shared his own thoughts on this World Aids Day.
Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS is one of the most pernicious aspects of this condition. You can help out by talking openly without hesitation about HIV/AIDS to those who might not normally see people living with HIV/AIDS in a positive light. You can share your personal stories with others about those you know and love who have been affected. You can wear your red ribbon and not just on December 1st.

Please do whatever you can to dispel the negative perceptions about people living with HIV/AIDS and help us recall the need for compassion, prevention and education. The virus is the enemy, not those who are infected.

HIV/AIDS related charities around the world need your help. You can volunteer your time, or you can make donations of goods, services or money. Perhaps one of the most rewarding ways you can help is to visit those who are in need of companionship and to spend time getting to know them and their life stories. Bring them dignity by listening, by holding their hands, and by sharing your hugs and compassion.

AIDS is not a one day event for those of us living with HIV. Please keep us in mind year round.