Exert taken from Kolleen Bouchane’s blog, originally published on 21/07/2012 by Huffington Post.
I was still using colouring books when the first HIV/AIDS activists hit the streets. I knew about Ryan White and the discrimination in the U.S. from misinformation, fear and prejudice, but I had no idea then of the devastation AIDS would cause around the world; the lives it would take, the orphans it would create, the communities it would crush.
I also didn’t know how much I would learn from HIV and AIDS, and from people who live with it. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting and learning from many people who have fought HIV in their own bodies, in their families and in their communities. Many of these people have taken their fight to the streets and to the highest levels of government in their own countries and around the world, creating everything from local support groups, to the revolutionary Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
On July 24, ACTION will join other activists who will march in the streets of Washington, DC and deliver a call to action. At the top of these demands is a call that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) reach 6 million people with ART by 2013 and that a plan is advanced that reaches 15 million people globally with ART by 2015.
Ending the suffering from AIDS IS possible in our lifetime. We need only look to the investment in and subsequent development of life-saving treatments and drugs that followed it. But the truth remains that millions will still die from AIDS and other related diseases, like tuberculosis, which kills one in four people living with HIV. They will die not only because they lack the necessary testing and treatment, but because they are being denied access to basic health services.
Last year, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was forced to cancel its 11th round of funding, highlighting how quickly progress can stall in the current economic climate. If we don’t act now to stop further cut-backs and compromises, the years of hard work and improvement we have seen in AIDS/HIV treatment will be irrevocably reversed.
This week, thousands will come to the International Aids Conference in DC to call on world leaders to do more. You can show your support by following the event and speaking out for the continued commitment of donor countries to the Global Fund.
Together we can win the race to end AIDS/HIV and TB suffering worldwide.
Saving lives by speaking out.
This blog was written by Kolleen Bouchane, Director of ACTION – a global partnership of advocacy organizations working to influence policy and mobilize resources to fight diseases of poverty and improve access to health services. ACTION’s current focus issues are tuberculosis (TB) — the leading killer of people with HIV/AIDS — and increasing equitable access to childhood vaccines.