This year is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, which takes place every year on December 1 to raise awareness about AIDS pandemic. Every year there is a theme, this year's World AIDS Day is “Lead – Empower – Deliver,” focusing on the political leadership required to fight the disease. The impact of HIV and AIDS is felt by millions of people globally every day, particularly in countries like Cambodia.
The Sharing Foundation's HIV initiative is the Owens House for HIV infected women who are about to deliver their infants in Phnom Penh. HIV pregnant women who have previously registered come here near to term, receive teaching in group classes, and when in labor go to the Hospital, where they receive nevirapine in labor. The infants are given a dose soon after delivery, thus, with other therapy, cutting the transmission of HIV from mother to child from the expected 25 % to near 5 %. Of the 22 babies born to infected moms in this program in the last 6 months, two have been positive for HIV.
The mothers and babies, return to Owens House after delivery for sometimes several weeks. The importance of preparing infant formula with safe, clean water is carefully taught, as breast feeding is not advisable with HIV moms, and the Sharing Foundation does want the infants contracting fatal gastrointestinal infection from contaminated water. Follow up for mothers and infants is then carried out through a program administered by another nonprofit. We have had about 200 mother and infants at Owens House since the program started 4 years ago.
This awareness day can help bring much-needed global attention to the disease, particularly via the Internet. In 1995, I remember a group of arts organizations and artists on Arts Wire marked World Aids Day/A Day Without Art by turning the gray backgrounds on our web sites to black. Over the years, web awareness raising campaign have gotten more sophisticated.
A map of openly HIV-positive bloggers and caretakers, and other citizen media related to HIV/Aids. Published by Global Voices bloggers on World Aids Day 2008.
While lots of tweeting and retweeting about World Aids Day can be found on Twitter, the blogosphere is where the community conversation about AIDS is taking place right now. Global Voices gives us a round-up of posts from openly positive bloggers from around the world. These authentic first-hand accounts at bitter sweet - showing the forward steps in fighting this awful disease, and sadly how much still needs to be done.
There is also Bloggers Unite a blog action campaign organized by NIDA and AIDS.gov to invite bloggers to join them in their mission to prevent and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Here's how you can participate today. Great to see nonprofit tech bloggers like Laura Whitehead's Beth Pickard's, and Social Butterfly's contributions.