Scarcity of red ribbons still an obstacle for campaigning against the spread of HIV/Aids

Of recent I have been getting e-mail from most of readers of the health page asking me how and where red ribbons can be obtained. In fact it took me a lot of time trying to figure out how to help them, but with no success.

Of recent I have been getting e-mail from most of readers of the health page asking me how and where red ribbons can be obtained. In fact it took me a lot of time trying to figure out how to help them, but with no success.

I hope that by writing this article the concerned organs will be able to assist campaigners to get an adequate supply of the red ribbons so that the Aids Day due to be commemorated on 1st December may find a good number of them already supplied to many people. The Red Ribbon symbol is used internationally to represent the fight against Aids.

The Red Ribbon represents red - like love - as a symbol of passion and tolerance towards those affected; red-like blood, representing the pain suffered by the many people who have died of Aids; red, like the anger about the helplessness with which we are facing a disease for which there is still no chance for a cure; and red as a sign of warning not to carelessly ignore one of the biggest problems of our time.

In early 1991 Visual Aids in New York created the idea for a global symbol in the fight against Aids. A symbol for solidarity and tolerance with those often discriminated against by the public - the people living with HIV/ Aids.

In the style of the yellow ribbons, which were popular in the USA at the time as a symbol of awareness of those soldiers fighting in the Gulf War, the Red Ribbon was born.

Following first events in the New York art scene, Visual Aids was soon aiming at the Tony Award. In a spontaneous campaign, volunteers sent letters and Red Ribbons to all people attending.

Unfortunately, movie actor Jeremy Irons was one of the very few celebrities wearing the Red Ribbon that night.

While Governments and the pharmaceutical industry continue to be under pressure from Aids activists and the public in general to find a cure for Aids, attempts at prevention through teaching “safe sex” (i.e., the relatively safer sex accomplished by the use of condoms), sexual abstinence in high-risk situations, and the dangers to drug users of sharing needles, have been slowed down by those who feel that such education gives license to promiscuity and immoral behaviour.

However, these campaigns cannot be successful when people continue to be silent. We should use the internationally recognized symbol of a red ribbon to break the silence.

Together with the wearing of the red ribbons, HIV testing remains a big weapon in the fight against this deadly disease.
Nearly half of those infected with HIV don’t know that they are infected, until they are diagnosed with Aids.

HIV test kits are used to screen donor blood and blood products, and to diagnose, treat and monitor individuals with HIV.

HIV tests detect HIV antibodies, HIV antigens or HIV RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) in serum, plasma, oral fluid, dried blood spot or urine. Even though there’s no cure for HIV, it’s important to get tested for it.

If you find out that you have HIV, there are drugs that can slow down the progress of the virus, help you feel better if you have health problems from HIV, and keep you from getting some HIV infections.

If you are pregnant, you will also be able to help prevent passing HIV to your baby. You can tell your sexual partners if you have HIV and protect them from getting the virus.

Testing for Aids may cause fear, but I think that the farther you get away from misery, the more you will be able to contain shock.

Hope is an emotion that, I believe, does not push to action when you are watching it from the comfort of your air conditioned living room as you gaze out on to your self-watering lawn.

Sure, you may not like what you see, but I believe that when you test you get to know how to live in a more positive way.
Who knows? May be the drug will be discovered sooner or later while you are still strong, and then you may be lucky to get a cure.

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