Yesterday was World AIDS Day. It probably escaped most people’s attention, and it annoys me.
I spent a large portion of that evening discussing the lack of promotion of this fact with a friend. We discussed to what lengths promotion techniques would have to go in order for people to take notice. Having someone contract HIV for the benefit of a reality show seems tasteless, sickening and altogether a very bad idea; which seems to be the basis of all reality shows.
But there belies the issue: no-one really takes notice until HIV touches their lives. My first encounter with HIV was becoming a fan of Queen and later finding out that the lead singer, of course Freddie Mercury, died of an AIDS-related infection. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing for me — he’s given me so much joy through his music and he has prompted my awareness of the virus that would ultimately kill him and thus enable me to protect myself; but I would never know him as a living artist and I will never hear him perform live.
And millions across the world are still being subjected to a virus that is little more than thirty years in the making. And millions more have little idea on how to protect themselves, nor do they realise how much of a problem HIV/AIDS is. I’m angry.