World Day of Struggle Against AIDS in Cuba
- WORLD DAY OF STRUGGLE AGAINST AIDS MARKED TODAY IN CUBA
by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews moderator
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
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
The gathering called for political will to face the current
Some 40 million people are infected by HIV/AIDS in the
world, while three million persons have died from that
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
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
SPANISH ARTICLES TODAY INCLUDE:
AIDS: Against discrimination and stigma
LIVE WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION (a different commentary)
FOR A BETTER SOLIDARITY WITH THOSE INFECTED WITH AIDS
And here's the actual front page of GRANMA today:
FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY VIEW, the leading
Black newspaper in the area
World AIDS Day is Dec. 1
by John Iversen
"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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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