The International AIDS conferences and activism are inextricably linked. Many aspects of the pandemic and our response have been shaped by activists. The historical approach to infectious diseases prior to HIV was one of containment, quarantine and isolation…as we attempted to restrict transmission. But HIV, with its long incubation period, its prevalence initially in marginalised populations led to a movement that eventually resulted in a human rights approach to the response involving voluntary counselling, informed consent, involvement of civil society etc. There are several heroes that defined the response and continue to do so. The work of activists makes the International AIDS conference different from any other medical conference you could possibly attend and makes us think beyond odds, ratios and confidence intervals…..a good thing!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead
Indeed phenomenal, what has been achieved by the HIV/AIDS movement. One can only hope that other aspects of health in Africa, including equitable health care provision,achieve the same momentum and follower-ship such as has been achieved by HIV/AIDS.
Africa has myriad public health problems; Maternal and child health issues(not neccessarily linked to HIV/AIDS), Mental health, weak systems of health care delivery, to name but a few. These, by virtue of their significance to the health and productivity of populations, have human rights implications. This to my mind, means a need for activism such as is enjoyed by HIV/AIDS, to aid in the critical job of bridging the gap between available best evidence research and discernable/tangible improvements in the lives of the man, woman and child on Africa’s streets and in Its villages..
We are indeed challenged to do more in HIV/AIDS, as well as in other aspects of health and health care delivery in our country Nigeria as well as on our continent..
Thanks for sharing Chikwe. Reading your posts make me feel like I am there. And makes me realise what I’m missing! Next time maybe.
I’m so proud of HIV activists, heck most activists. ‘To put feelings into
positive action is a powerful antidote for hopelessness’. Lets keep talking.