The Emotional Impact of an AIDS Diagnosis

Countries with The Highest HIV AIDS Prevalence Rates

 

Following a brief introduction, the documentary “It’s Not Over” was screened. It followed three people – Sarang, Paige, and Lucky – and their experiences surrounding HIV/AIDS to illustrate the human stories behind the disease.

South Africa has more people with HIV than any other country in the world. Locals estimate that 80% of the Khayelitsha population has HIV, and that 1 in 3 adults use drugs there. This drug use can make the body weaker and more susceptible to HIV. A lot of women contract HIV from rape, which is a constant there. Lucky’s friend Sisi says that as a woman living in South Africa, “anything can happen at anytime.”

Some interesting statistics from the film: If on a full effective HIV treatment regimen, HIV patients can lower the chance of spreading the disease by 96%. Out of 400,000 sex workers in Mumbai, up to 75% are thought to have HIV.  2.3 million people are infected with HIV per year.

After the screening, the four speakers answered questions from the audience. Ms. Flynn noted that half of the new infections occurring were in people under 24. Ms. Rawl wants people to learn the basic facts about the disease and understand that having it doesn’t define a person. “It’s not the health aspect of being HIV positive that’s hard…it’s the stigma.”  She is still encountering students in schools whose sexual health classes aren’t teaching them that saliva is not one of the bodily fluids that transmits the disease. To the people who aren’t sure of how to open up about it to those around them, she suggests opening with a general comment about HIV and seeing the reaction in the room. If those people don’t know about HIV, then educate them first and then tell them.

Meeting: Panel discussion on and screening of the documentary entitled “It’s Not Over” (in observance of World AIDS Day (1 December) (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands, the United States Mission, MAC AIDS Fund and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS))

Date/Location: Monday, November 30, 2015; 16:00-18:15, Conference Room 4

Speakers: Andrea Flynn – Moderator, MAC AIDS Fund; Paige Rawl – Author, “Positive”, Subject, “It’s Not Over”; Lotte Dijkstra – Dutch Youth Ambassador for Sexual Reproductive Rights and HIV/AIDS; Andrew Jenks – Director, “It’s Not Over”

Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

 

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