Every year on Dec. 1, people worldwide unite to commemorate people who have died from HIV/AIDS, who support those living with the disease and bring awareness for prevention. The first event was held in 1988, but the cause is just as urgent today — 33.3 million people around the world are living with the disease. During his remarks today, President Obama took a hopeful tone, saying "We are going to win this fight." Take a look at how people lent their support to that effort around the world now.
While I come across plenty of home decor pieces that inspire my sense of style and speak to my aesthetics, it's definitely rare to discover a piece of furniture that inspires my hopes and dreams. The Dreams for Africa Chair by Woza Moya is just that such a chair. The winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) award at the international design show Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town, the Dreams for Africa Chair invites people from all walks of life to sit in the chair and share their dreams.
The chair was created two years ago by 160 women from the Valley of 1,000 Hills in KwaZulu-Natal, who created the chair through Woza Moya, an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust These women use their crafting and art skills to earn an income, with Woza Moya currently representing over 200 crafters, marketing their goods.
The inspiration for the chair, according to the Hillcrest AIDS centre, came from the women themselves, who were understandably overwhelmed by their diagnosis and the basic survival of their children and families. "We wanted to make people dream again and encourage powerful positive thoughts about our futures and of course our beautiful country. To restore hope. So started our Dreams for Africa series.These are going to be collaborative 'art' pieces that challenge us as crafters."
Featuring local craftsmanship and Zulu beadwork, the chair is now on a tour of South Africa and beyond. Take a look at some South Africans photographed with the chair, and read about the dreams they share.
Today, December 1 is World AIDS Day. The international day of observance is dedicated to raising awareness and continued support for those affected by the disease.
It's an epidemic so tragic that there's little to be said. But, people can take action and join the continued quest for better education, prevention, and finding a cure. Do you know the facts about perinatal HIV transmission and prevention in America? Take our quiz and find out.Take the Quiz
Your baby can roll like a rock star and in Gwen Stefani's Bugaboo! The L.A.M.B. designer created a signature buggy to benefit the Global Fund. The singer's autographed Chameleon will be put to auction on Wednesday, December 1, 2010. The winning bid (which will be announced on Sunday, December 5) will be donated to eliminate AIDS in Africa. The celebrity mama's one-of-a-kind stroller won't blend in with the rides at the park as it features a floral and graffiti carriage and leather detailing. Check out the details below and then head over to Bugaboo to bid!
Pope Benedict XVI has finally joined the 21st century and come out in favor of using condoms to prevent HIV, suggesting that in fact, hell may have frozen over. The Pope thinks that using a condom is a lesser evil than transmitting HIV, even if that means preventing pregnancy. Why it took the Church so long to discover it's better to prevent a pregnancy than potentially pass on HIV to a mother and a child is beyond me, but the new interpretation does dramatically depart from the Church's total opposition to contraception. The Pope now joins the side of UN HIV/AIDS officials, who announced this week that the number of new HIV infections fell, thanks partly to condoms.
In his book released today, the Pope cited male prostitutes as an example, explaining that it was more moral and responsible for them to use condoms to protect their partners from HIV, and today the Vatican clarified that this also applies to "a woman, a man, or a transsexual."
The Catholic Church's new position will surely boost condom promotion in Africa and other places with an at-risk population. And since the Church provides tons of social services in developing countries, maybe this means it will soon help make condoms available. Yet, the Pope still opposes contraception simply to prevent pregnancy. The new statement might signal more change to come, but it doesn't really matter, at least in America — Catholic women are more likely to use the pill than the general population anyway.
Last year when an AIDS advocacy group filed complaints against porn production companies for unsafe work conditions, it hoped that the government would force the industry to use condoms. Unfortunately, adult entertainment industry leaders have so far successfully claimed that regular testing is an effective way to protect the actors and that viewers do not want to watch protected sex.
News that a porn actor has tested positive for HIV may finally bring some change when public health officials meet to discuss mandatory condom rules at the end of the month. But it's not a sure thing. A 2004 HIV outbreak among porn stars wasn't enough to make condoms mandatory.
Everyone knows that using a condom is a trade-off for protecting yourself against HIV/AIDS or other STDs, so I think we can trade in whatever enjoyment we get from seeing unprotected sex for the actors' safety. And in the meantime, let's try to find a way to digitally remove the condom after filming.
Here's a way to pass time at the DMV: get an HIV test while you're waiting. A DMV branch in Washington DC is rolling out a pilot program that sets up free HIV testing on site. With three percent of residents living with HIV/AIDS — that's a higher rate than in West Africa — the nation's capital has to get creative about increasing testing.
A nonprofit, not the government, will administer the test, and the results will be confidential. They're hoping to keep things fast, too. Results will come in 20 minutes, and counseling and medical help will be available for those who get a positive reading.
While I love the idea of making HIV testing easily accessible and decreasing the stigma, I'm not sure I'd want to find out my results at the DMV. But those behind it say it's the perfect place to educate a cross section of residents about the importance of knowing your status. In that case, it sounds like a smart idea to me.
At this year's international AIDS conference, the world health community celebrated a new vaginal gel that decreases a woman's risk of contracting HIV. "For the first time we have seen results for a woman-initiated and controlled HIV prevention option," said the director of the UN's AIDS policy. But could this option also be a burden?
The gel, used before sex, is intended for women who cannot convince their partners to use condoms, which, according to the UN, amounts to most women in the world. Critics say embracing such a gel as the solution cements the idea that a man has a right to condomless sex. In other words, huge amounts of money is going toward research simply to make sure men don't have to wear condoms, instead of focusing resources on teaching safe sex and changing social norms.
For more on the dilemma keep reading.
In his Florida hometown, equestrian Darren Chiacchia went from celebrated Olympic medalist to charged alleged-criminal. How did he get here?
When preparing for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Darren fell off his horse and went to the hospital with serious injuries. There, he found out that not only did he have a severe brain injury, but also that he is HIV positive. Darren went on with his life as a relatively healthy gay man managing his HIV. He later dated a man he met online, but after this partner came across medical records indicating Darren's HIV-positive status, he went to the local sheriff's office and filed a complaint. In Florida, it is a crime for an HIV-positive person to have sex without informing a partner of the positive status. Now Darren faces a possible 30 years in prison.
Records suggest that Darren's partner has not contracted HIV. But Florida's law doesn't care, and about 32 other states have similar criminal laws dealing with exposure to HIV. For more on this, read more