World Aids Day

Thirty years ago a virus named Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was introduced into the world. Around the same time it was discovered that HIV caused a disease named Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Thirty years later there have been many advances towards finding the cure of HIV/AIDS. The virus and disease have eluded every attempt to end it but we live in a world filled with dedicated people who have committed their careers and lives, to getting rid of HIV. From improving the prevention of transmission from mother to child to developing treatment that reduces transition we are only getting closer to finding the long awaited cure.


In order to understand the mission in place to end HIV/AIDS one must first understand what it is. HIV begins to damage a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells which are needed in order to help the body fight diseases. Although people living with HIV may appear and feel healthy, HIV is slowly breaking down their immune system cell by cell. Many people living with HIV can benefit greatly from medications developed in order to treat this virus. These medications can limit or slow down the destruction of the immune system, improve the health of people living with HIV, and may reduce their ability to transmit HIV. However as stated by an article named “Eliminating HIV/AIDS: How We'll Get to Zero”, the drugs themselves cost a lot of money, and it is also expensive to test people for HIV, make meds available worldwide, and help people with HIV stay on treatment.


AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection. This is when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Due to the medications, a person can go decades living with HIV before it actually develops into AIDS. However the medications are only a temporary solution to stopping the progression and spread of HIV. A cure is needed but the only way that will happen is if we have the support of our government in this time of need. Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on November 8th, 2011 laying out the renewed commitment to fight HIV/AIDS. According to an article in the yaledailynews named “CAREL AND AUGENSTEIN: Renewing the fight against AIDS”, “If the US reaffirms the strong leadership it has demonstrated in the global HIV/AIDS epidemic since 2003, our generation could see an AIDS-free world within our lifetime”. It has been proven that this virus is more likely in communities that are the most vulnerable and possess the least amount of power so economic empowerment is a necessity.


Even though this is the beginning of the end of AIDS, HIV is not going to be gone anytime soon. As the fight continues the people of the world have to be educated in order to help in the search for a cure. Educating people also includes eliminating the stigma. Some people to this day see HIV/AIDS as a punishment for going against God or that you can get it from sharing a fork with someone who has it. How do we expect future generations to help clean up this mess if they have not been told how? For this we need money but it has been a difficult time not only to our economy but also the global economy. The students at Yale are committed to fighting this global inequity and they urge the government to do so as well.


This time in particular is a good moment to do just what the Yalies are doing. An election season is quickly approaching and it just so happens to coincide with the International AIDS Conference. The address that Secretary Clinton delivered shows that this nation is ready to unite in order to finally renew this fight. If President Obama does indeed decide to lead the fight against such a global issue then us as citizens should be ready to stand with him.





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