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World Day of Struggle Against AIDS in Cuba

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  • Walter Lippmann
    WORLD DAY OF STRUGGLE AGAINST AIDS MARKED TODAY IN CUBA by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/ This is December 1,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2003
      WORLD DAY OF STRUGGLE AGAINST AIDS MARKED TODAY IN CUBA
      by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews moderator
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/

      This is December 1, 2003, the International Day of Struggle
      Against AIDS. Here in Havana, Cuba, the media has begun the
      day with discussions of Cuban programs to fight the disease
      and the devastation which has been occurring internationally
      because of it. The Cuban media has been preparing for this
      day with coverage on the issue for the past several days.
      I've been here in Havana for the past few weeks and will
      remain for awhile longer

      Here are some items from the Cuban media and a few talking
      about Cuba from the international media. I've decided to
      assemble them all in one place in case you would like to
      pass them on as a group.

      The news anchors on the morning television shows are wearing
      those little red ribbons. The front page of GRANMA likewise
      features the ribbon in bright red ink and the newspapers as
      well are featuring it. (There's no Juventud Rebelde issued
      on Mondays, but we have the weekly Trabajadores with a story
      on it. JR had a feature on it in the Sunday edition, which
      is a larger version than the normal daily eight-pager. We
      also see imaginative public service announcements on TV in
      which everyone is urged to practice responsible sexuality.

      Cuban figures say that 53% of the nation's AIDS caseload is
      here in the nation's capital and that the majority occur in
      the population of men who have sex with other men. I'm told
      there is an effort to reach out to the gay male population,
      and will try to find out something more about this for the
      readers of these mailings. There are no open organizations
      of lesbians, gays or transgendered people here in Cuba but
      of course they're all present here, whether officially and
      openly organized or not.

      There's a large and really quite well-known drag scene in
      this country, and it's a milieu where some publicity on
      the issue is likely to be needed. There's a large condom
      poster on the barbershop down the street from where I live
      which shows a man passionately kissing a leg and foot that
      is wearing a high-heeled shoe. Of course the viewer cannot
      see the actual gender of the person wearing the shoe, so
      who knows...?

      What a difference from the United States where puritanical
      attitudes dominate the government and "abstinence only" is
      the line of the authorities at the national level. Here is
      one item from TRABAJADORES, the weekly publication of the
      Cuban Trade Unions, the CTC:
      ===========================================

      13 Million Orphan Children are
      Direct Victims of AIDS in the World
      by Francis Norniella

      Havana, Nov 28 (AIN) AIDS has caused the existence of over
      13 million orphan children in the world since the outbreak
      of that epidemics last century, said participants at a
      world forum that concluded Friday in Havana.

      The situation turns critical in SubSahara Africa, where
      eight in every 10 children have already lost at least one
      of their parents, according to the UN Children Fund,
      represented ta the 2nd International Encounter on Jurdical
      Protection of the Right of Children.

      Over 20 million children of that region will have no
      parents by the end of the current decade, since 99 percent
      of HIV infected have no medications to make their lives
      last.

      The gathering called for political will to face the current
      situation.

      Some 40 million people are infected by HIV/AIDS in the
      world, while three million persons have died from that
      epidemic.

      This is only one of so many examples that prove the lack of
      priority given to health, particularly during the first
      years of life of a person; it is a situation that worsens
      due to precarious conditions undergone by the large
      children population.

      If out of the 800 million dollars annually invested with
      military aims, only 3% were used in health, 33 000 children
      would be safe every day and another 17 500 would not die
      from hunger.

      SPANISH ARTICLES TODAY INCLUDE:

      AIDS: Against discrimination and stigma
      http://www.trabajadores.cubasi.cu/fijos/salud/sexualidad/textos/contra.htm

      LIVE WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION (a different commentary)
      http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/secciones/comentarios/coment541.htm

      FOR A BETTER SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE INFECTED WITH AIDS
      http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2003/12/01/interna/articulo05.html

      And here's the actual front page of GRANMA today:
      http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2003/12/01/plana.jpg


      FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY VIEW, the leading
      Black newspaper in the area
      http://www.sfbayview.com/112603/aidsday112603.shtml

      World AIDS Day is Dec. 1

      by John Iversen

      [photo caption]
      "I'm an AIDS activist and also a woman living with AIDS.
      And I am fighting. I am not going to die of AIDS but I'm
      going to die fighting AIDS." - Chatinkha Nkhoma, Malawi
      AIDS activist, in the film "Pills, Profits & Protest:
      Voices of Global AIDS Activists" screening at Oakland's
      Parkway Theater Sunday at 3 p.m.

      World AIDS Day is Dec. 1, but activities began Monday, Nov.
      24, as over 1,000 people marched on the White House to
      demand President Bush do much more to address the biggest
      health crisis in human history. According to march
      organizer Paul Davis of HealthGAP, "There will be 100
      million people with HIV by the end of the decade, most in
      Africa. The global AIDS epidemic is in its infancy, and
      Bush is accelerating the problem."

      ------------

      Demonstrators from such groups as Africa Action, African
      Services Committee and ACT UP New York and Philadelphia had
      both national and international demands. Full funding for
      state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), needle exchange
      and scientific (rather than moral) prevention policies was
      called for. ADAP faces a $283 million shortfall and there
      are waiting lists in nearly 20 states.

      Canceling the crushing debts of impoverished nations,
      access to affordable generic drugs for AIDS, TB and
      malaria, and more than doubling U.S. global AIDS funding
      are the international demands. "Africa could deal with AIDS
      if it did not have an annual $15 billion debt service,"
      said Africa Action's Salih Booker. "The first step in
      reparations is debt cancellation."

      Paul Davis urged marchers to check out the 2004 Stop Global
      AIDS Platform (at www.healthgap.org), which calls for $6
      billion (a United Nations suggestion) U.S. global AIDS
      funding. To date presidential candidates Howard Dean,
      Richard Gephardt and John Kerry have adopted the platform.

      The main World AIDS Day demonstration in the Bay Area will
      be addressed by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Lee has
      spearheaded congressional efforts for more global AIDS
      funding and has been able to forge alliances with more
      humane Republicans.

      The demonstration will occur at the Oakland Federal
      Building, 1301 Clay St., near 12th Street BART, at noon on
      Monday, Dec. 1. You are asked to bring an old pair of shoes
      as part of a visual demonstration that 300 Africans will
      die during the hour. Also on hand will be Alameda County
      Supervisor Nate Miley, Berkeley Vice Mayor Maudelle Shirek,
      Zimbabwean Phillip Machingura of HealthGAP and needle
      exchange leader Gerald Lenoir of Priority Africa Network.

      During the past year, significant gains have been made by
      treatment activists. South Africa's Treatment Action
      Campaign has won a five-year struggle to force its
      government to roll out AIDS drugs in the public sector.
      Over 50,000 South Africans will receive affordable generic
      treatments in 2004.

      Countries providing free AIDS drugs to all citizens include
      Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Latvia, Morocco,
      Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Cuba and Oman. The Pan
      African Treatment Access Movement (PATAM) was formed and
      includes people from all African countries.

      San Francisco and East Bay residents will have the
      opportunity to view an advance community screening of a new
      documentary film, "Pills, Profits & Protest: Voices of
      Global AIDS Activists" (www.pillsprofitsprotest.org). The
      film's director, San Franciscan Anne-Christine d'Adesky
      will be present at the showings. She has documented the
      ongoing battle to provide life-saving medicines for
      millions living in poor countries, showing that the global
      AIDS movement represents one of the most successful
      political movements in contemporary history. The film
      features South Africans, Ugandans and Brazilians.

      The film shows in Oakland, Sunday, Nov. 30, 3 p.m., at the
      Parkway Theater, 1834 Park Blvd. There is a benefit
      donation of $8. Live Zimbabwean music will be provided by
      Machingura, and a panel discussion will follow. The film
      shows at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, at San Francisco State
      University.

      San Francisco State has a full day of Dec. 1 events
      featuring the film, "Youth Speaks Poets," and a timely
      power point presentation on poverty and disease in Africa
      and African American communities here. Call Michael Ritter
      at (415) 388-7339 for all SF State information.

      Poet and playwright Imani Harrington and HIV prison
      activist Judy Greenspan will be featured at the UC Berkeley
      program, "A Humanistic Approach to the Epidemic." It's at
      116 Haviland Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1.

      Also on Dec. 1, the Alameda County Medical Center honors
      the 20th anniversary of one of the oldest AIDS clinics in
      the country, Fairmont Hospital. The honoring will occur at
      Samuel Merritt College's Health Education Center, 400
      Hawthorne Ave., Oakland, at 5:30 p.m. RSVP to Bertha
      Nevarez at (510) 667-3204.

      The day after all this demonstrating and education, it's
      time to "Think Globally, Eat Locally." On Tuesday, Dec. 2,
      the Pan-Asian Restaurant, Unicorn, will donate 25 percent
      of the day's proceeds to the global AIDS advocacy of
      HealthGAP and ACT UP East Bay. Unicorn is located next to
      the Center for Independent Living at 2533 Telegraph Ave.,
      Berkeley. Reservations are advised at (510) 841-8098.

      For all East Bay activities and information on an email
      silent auction with great prizes, call (510) 841-4339.

      Email John Iversen at johnnyi@...

      The HIV/Aids Menace

      Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
      EDITORIAL
      November 28, 2003
      Posted to the web November 29, 2003

      COME THIS Sunday, the world will commemorate the
      UN-sponsored World AIDS Day when world attention would be
      focused on a truly global problem which threatens the very
      existence of humanity.

      Ever since it was first diagnosed in 1984 in America,
      HIV/AIDS has cut a devastating swathe through the lives of
      all mankind, irrespective of status, religion or race. From
      China to Canada, Antigua to Zimbabwe, it has truly become a
      pandemic, threatening to undo decades of progress,
      especially in the Third World.

      Africa, statistics show, has the highest number of HIV
      infections in the world with an estimated 28.5 million
      people living with the disease. As a matter of fact, South
      Africa and Botswana have the highest per capita infection
      rate worldwide.

      Though no cure for the deadly disease is yet available,
      drugs have been developed which can extend the lives of
      infected victims and allow them to function with a degree
      of normalcy. Indeed, in the developed countries, these
      retroviral drugs have helped to stabilise the spread of the
      disease.

      However, the prohibitive cost of these drugs has kept them
      out of the reach of many AIDS sufferers, especially in poor
      African states. Recent decision by some pharmaceutical
      companies to reduce the price of the drugs for third world
      patients, has given hope that the problem may eventually be
      brought under control.

      The Chronicle, however, is more concerned about what is
      being done in this country as far as controlling HIV/AIDS
      is concerned.

      Even though Ghana's infection rate, compared to other
      African countries, seems to be low, we would be deceiving
      ourselves by assuming that everything is under control.
      There can be no doubt that a lot of education and raising
      of awareness has been done.

      Despite increased awareness, condom use in Ghana is still
      very low: 14% among men and 9% for women. It even gets
      lower in the high risk segment of the population between
      ages 15 and 25.

      This paper believes that the country should not wait for
      the pandemic to reach its deadliest heights before drastic
      action is taken. The examples of Uganda and Cuba in
      checking the spread of the virus must be carefully studied
      and replicated if we indeed want to leave a worthwhile
      legacy for our future generations.

      The effects of HIV/AIDS on mankind are so frightening that,
      nothing is too small or big in the continuing battle to
      contain the pandemic. All sectors of society must rise up
      to fight this veritable menace.

      This is necessary if this country of ours is to grow and
      fulfil its potential as the gateway to Africa.

      We owe it to ourselves and to posterity.



      UN coordinator lauds Cuba's anti-AIDS programme
      (11/20/2003 -- 17:47GMT+7)

      Hanoi, Nov. 20 (VNA)-Cuba has the lowest HIV infection
      rate in Latin America and the Caribbean, a UN coordinator
      in Cuba remarked at a conference on HIV/AIDS prevention in
      Havana on Wednesday.

      Cuba has registered only 2,565 cases of HIV/AIDS, he said,
      attributing this to Cuba's efforts to carry out its
      anti-AIDS programme.

      Since 1983, Cuba has recommended its people take measures
      to prevent the spread of the disease that has infected 42
      million people worldwide. The country has banned the import
      of blood from countries with a high HIV infection
      rate.-Enditem


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