Link and Think 2002

Today is World AIDS Day, and while AIDS in North America isn’t quite the epidemic we feared it would be, in other parts of the world, it’s having a devastating impact. AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa, and it will get much worse before it gets better. Here are some links to stories about the real AIDS epidemic:

Staying Alive started in 1998 as a documentary series about young people living with HIV/AIDS. For the past few years, there have also been fundraising concerts, and this year, on November 23, a concert was held in Cape Town, South Africa. It will be broadcast today on MTV and features P.Diddy, Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott, Dave Matthews Band, and Michelle Branch.

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS

Aids & Africa has up-to-date news and statistics

Time’s Photo Essay on AIDS in Africa from 2001

CNN’s Special Coverage from 2000

The Village Voice’s Pulitzer Prize winning series on the AIDS crisis in Africa, from 1999

Some horrifying statistics:

  • close to 30 million Africans are infected with HIV
  • more than 3 million Africans died from AIDS in 2002
  • More than 44% of pregnant women in urban Botswana are HIV+
  • almost 3 million children under 15 are living with HIV/AIDS
  • The rate of adult HIV infection is over 30% in four countries: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland

What can you do?

The previously-mentioned Aids & Africa site has a great page here with a listing of many organizations that are engaged in fighting the epidemic in Africa. Many addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and web sites are listed, allowing you to find information and make donations. Please take a minute to check it out.

Also, the excellent aidsmap site has an Africa-specific page of links here.

Just because Africa is far away is no reason not to care. The AIDS crisis is yet another hardship for a continent that is already suffering in many places from poverty, hunger, and war.