Saturday, December 01, 2007
The day we put aside to remember Aids
(Susan Segu: HIV +)
More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans.
By the end of 2005, women accounted for 48% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.
Young people (15-24 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide - around 6,000 become infected with HIV every day.
Of the 6.5 million people in developing and transitional countries who need life-saving AIDS drugs, only 1.3 million are receiving them.
AND....Global Military Spending now tops $1T
Not so long ago Donald Rumsfeld aimed critisicm at China's military spending, suggesting that; “Since no nation threatens China, one must wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these continuing large and expanding arms purchases?” A question he may well ask of himself. According to a report recently released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Global Military Spending topped $1Trillion in 2004. The United States accounted for 47 percent of all military expenditures, while Britain and France each made up 5 percent of the total. In all, 15 countries accounted for 82 percent of the world's total military spending. The BBC reported last month that Chinese military spending increased by 12% in 2004 to $25Bn - or one twentieth of what the US spends.
Makes me want to puke
The problem is not just about Aids it’s about poverty. As photojournalist Don McCullin describes: ‘this isn’t just a medical situation. It’s a combination of things. But the primary cause is poverty, which leads to hunger and despair.” Whilst in Tanzania a couple of years ago I met with a group of women (Susan being one of them), all of whom had tragic stories to tell, all of whom are (if still alive) living with full blown Aids, all of whom (bar one) would be leaving children behind when they die – this they said was the hardest part of living with the disease. I remember stopping writing when they told me this because there were no words to describe how I felt...