World AIDS day hopes and failures

The online media consensus seems to be that this year’s World AIDS day, which is today, is a rather miserable failure. Indeed, levels of awareness in the queer communities (and straight ones for that matter) through which I roam do seem to have diminished, resulting in an upsurgence of infections. One step forward, ladies and gentlemen, one step back?

Especially troubling is Swaziland’s cancellation of the day’s events due to King Mswati’s claim that “they would interfere with a month-long traditional ceremony.” A country with the highest international rate of infection with 38% of its population infected. And a king, criticized for his lavish lifestyle, with 13 wives and 25 children.

In South Africa, where there are 5 million living with HIV, health minister Tshabalala-Msimang, AKA “Dr. No” for her reluctance to support the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, touts the use of vegetables. While, I (and Kaiser Permanente for that matter) do believe fully in the power of healthy living and eating your leafy greens, a proven HIV combatant they are not.

On South Africa’s up side, their highest court today ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny homos the right to wed. As usual, there are a few more hoops to jump through before Adam and Steve can swish down the aisle, as the court gave parliament up to a year to make the appropriate legal changes. But when these changes do go into effect, South Africa will be the only non-European nation, besides those liberal Canucks to our north, to legalize same sex marriage.

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