Asanempoka's Ghanaway

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Let's share some positive HIV experiences! It's not all doom and gloom in the real world, especially for discordant couples with children.

In all the talks on HIV I have seen they always show statistics and talk about the dire circumstances of people living with HIV. The comments I have seen people write about these talks are disturbing to say the least and prove the point that education for the general public on the current state of people living with HIV is not out there to educate them.
Can we not have some positive talks and discussions about how people are conquering the virus, engaging in long-term loving relationships, continuing their families and living lives just as long as the person next to them.
Let's hear some positive news about how far we've come in relaation to HIV!

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    May 30 2012: Hello,

    Here is an article about a contestant on a popular tv show that had announced he is HIV positive.

    http://www.mjsbigblog.com/the-voice-jamar-rogers-on-speaking-out-on-aids-diagnosis.htm

    Here is another article about the same contestant from yahoo news, but there are video references to check him out.

    http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/reality-rocks/voice-standout-jamar-rogers-discusses-past-hiv-addiction-004628994.html

    Hope someone finds this inspiring and paradigm shifting. =)
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    Jun 11 2012: Are you serious? This is all the comments so far?
    Then that is the problem!!!
    Perhaps the academics, statisticians and other intellectuals on this site NEED only the negative side of HIV to be presented and discussed because otherwise they'd do themselves out of a job or have to rejustify their long-held opinions?
    Not even a TED representative?
    Well I hope we get some positive stories before the conversation closes because I truly believe we need to shift our perspective on how we tackle the HIV issue and how we educate the public on the current state of HIV in our communities and that it is no longer babies and bowling balls like it was in Australia in the 1980's.
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      Jun 13 2012: I do agree, but maybe AIDs is more of a taboo instead of a social topic. Some say AIDs is over popularized and used as a means to scare people or to get TV ratings....what are your thoughts Lyndal?
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        Jun 29 2012: My thoughts on this are that AIDS has an image in the media that is used within pop culture innapropriately. I remember last year on World AIDS Day a prominent medical spokesman/politician (I can't quite remember) made comments that led one to believe HIV and AIDS are one and the same. I think they need to begin separating the two a little more. Instead of HIV/AIDS it should be the HIV virus and AIDS. Or some such thing. In Australia it is seen as a disease from the homosexual community which is not the majority case in Africa.
        It's all lumped into one category and perhaps now is the time to begin separating the various parts of the issue amongst the social media.
        This week there was a report of a footballer in Australia retorting a fan who'd said something negative about him on Twitter. His twitter retort was that the fans mother had given him AIDS. She can't have given him AIDS although she could have infected him with the HIV virus. It's thiese distinctions that need to begin being made or the situation will never improve and those living with the virus will never be able to be open about their situation like those with cancer, MS, or other chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems can.
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    May 31 2012: Although this does not have translations for the Swahili I think the point is clear. There are couples in long-term relationships having children where even after many years one is positive and the other negative.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYLUOHGOVxw
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    Jun 27 2012: Few of us in our isolated worlds have any experience of aids beyond media. In my field of infection prevention, it is almost never discussed- as though it is passe. We know it is easy to kill outside the body and how it is transmitted. We know that sometimes people do not get it when we expected them to do so.
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      Jun 28 2012: Thanks for your comment Debra.
      Do you think it is not discussed in your field because the western world has it mostly under-control now with access to ARV treatment?
      Do you have any knowledge about whether some people are naturally immune? I am aware of, and know people who have been with their partners for many years and have never been infected.
      There are 2 strands. HIV1 is the strand that is more common in the western world. HIV2 is more commonly found in Africa. HIV2 responds well to treatment because it has not been exposed to ARV's but the problem is giving people access to it adequately.
      I think the general public too readily associates AIDS and HIV as one and the same. I get angry when I see the media falsely combining the two also. They should know better by now. AIDS is reliant on HIV but not the other way around. I know people not on treatment who have had the virus for more than 5 or 10 years and never had a sick day in their life nor have they passed it onto to any partner they had in that time. They do not smoke or drink and eat very well. Ultimately a good lifestyle has the best affect on one's life whether you are a healthy person or someone affected by a chronic illness or a incurable virus.
      I am not aiming to lessen the severity of the message of avoiding HIV infection but just stating that not everyone exposed to the virus dies a horrible death. Some live good lives that go on despite.
      There used to be an ad in Australia where a couple goes to the doctor and he says 'you have cancer' and they sigh, relieved that it is not a bad diagnonis. This was to show that through research and finding cures what was once ominuous can reduce. I hope that HIV one day soon gets this kind of reaction too.
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        Jun 28 2012: Dear Lyndal - I love the art picture you use for your profile - thanks for sharing it. you have done a wonderful job of educating people from an informed perspective which is VERY effective!
        I will try to answer each question in turn.


        Do you think it is not discussed in your field because the western world has it mostly under-control now with access to ARV treatment?


        It is my supposition that once the cutting edge reaseachers are acting as though a problem is solved the front lines act that way too. in the face of such a demoral izing outcomes in the past, people are just so grateful for any progress. They just try to alleviate suffering.

        Do you have any knowledge about whether some people are naturally immune? I am aware of, and know people who have been with their partners for many years and have never been infected.
        There are 2 strands. HIV1 is the strand that is more common in the western world. HIV2 is more commonly found in Africa. HIV2 responds well to treatment because it has not been exposed to ARV's but the problem is giving people access to it adequately.

        No, sweet Lyndal, I have less information than you do. My understanding is though, that because of men's anatomical design they are far less likely to contract aids. After all , they are only open at that one little opening at the tip, while women are one seriously vulnerable open place in this regard. When we choose to love someone and give them access to our bodies we take our lives in our hands. They have access to not just our hearts through that intimate act but to our very life source in the event of infection. I think that they should want to protect us if they love us.
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    May 29 2012: Has anyone ever read 'The Tipping Point', by Malcolm Gladwell?
    http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/
    "It's a book about change. In particular, it's a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990's? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It's that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us." (quote from the website regarding the book)

    My suggestion is that maybe the OMG! nature of spreading the word about HIV is not the best way to change 'bad laws', public opinion, people's fear of testing and living with the virus, migration.
    Maybe, just maybe, by beginning to speak about the positive experiences of those living with HIV we can show how it's NOT the death sentence for many that it used to be - and that goes for countries in 'The West AND Africa'. If people can see that knowing you have HIV and having continual access to medication can give you the chance of a future, the chance to be a productive member of your society, then maybe we can change the tide this way instead.