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Thursday, December 01, 2005

"Accountability" For Whom? To Whom?

Today is World AIDS Day, and this year's theme is "Accountability." Sounds good, right? Well, yeah... until you see who they want to be accountable and what they want them to be accountable for.
"It has now been five years since the landmark UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS was adopted unanimously by UN Member States," the World AIDS Campaign says in a statement on its Web site.

To herald the five-year anniversary of that declaration, "the theme of the World AIDS Campaign is accountability," the statement adds. "This accountability refers to promises made not only in the Declaration but in other commitments made since then."

Pledges made in the declaration included education on AIDS prevention; treatment for those infected; searching for a vaccine and cure; and treatment for those infected.
Oh. Silly me. I thought they meant accountability of the people who have the virus. I thought they were trying to get HIV positive people to be responsible and not spread the virus. My bad.

No, I'm not a homophobe. I'm not some Fred Phelps wannabe who calls homosexuals horrid names and hope they all die a terrible death. And I know that some people have become HIV positive through no action of their own (babies born with HIV thanks to their maternal DNA donor, seriously ill patients who need a blood transfusion, men and women who are faithful to their not-so-faithful spouse (who brings home the virus from a tryst)). But there are a lot of people who contract the virus through high-risk behavior- unprotected sex, sharing drug needles. Some people intentionally seek out someone to "turn them"- make them HIV positive. Where is their accountability?

What's sad but true is that, while the AIDS virus is very contageous and brutal, it is actually quite easy to avoid getting it. Don't inject drugs. If you're not going to be faithful to your partner, don't have unprotected sex. It's not exactly rocket science- avoid risky behavior, and you won't get AIDS.

I'm not saying that it's not important to do research. It is very important. And, it is VERY important to educate people on the realities of AIDS and how HIV is transmitted (there are areas in Africa where people think that if you sleep with a virgin, the disease will go away). And the patients who have contracted the virus need care.

There also needs to be accountability within the AIDS community. Those with AIDS are honestly the only ones who can stop its spread. They hold that awesome power in their hands. What have they done with it?

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