December 1st is World AIDS Day–a day for people around the world to unite in the fight against AIDS and HIV, support those living with the disease, and remember and commemorate those who have died. Each year, the foundation participates and joins the marches and activities planned for this day.
This year was an important march, movement, and occupation of the main plaza–to promote knowledge about the disease and about the lack of resources and medicine. Recently, there was news that by the end of 2012 there will be no more medicine for those living with HIV/AIDS here in Bolivia. According to the Bolivian government, the countries and organizations that donate medicine and money to help those who are living positively have suspended their donations.It is not known why this happened, but many are speculating that the government has not been using the money properly.
Currently, about 4,500 people in Bolivia are living positively, but this number only includes the reported cases. According to many organizations, about 17,000 to 20,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS. This discrepancy is due to unreported cases and those who are undiagnosed and untreated.
Therefore, this year, the World AIDS Day march focused on a budget for care, treatment, and medicine for those living and affected by HIV/AIDS. Many people were talking about the lack of medicine and medical care, as well as the lack of education about the disease–how it is contracted, what it is, how to prevent it, etc. For the march, those who are positive were instructed to wear all black, and to show our solidarity and support, the girls and the staff who attended the movement dressed in black as well. We marched from the southern section of the city in the Cancha north to the Main Plaza. While marching, many carried signs, and all chanted about never forgetting those who have died from this disease, as well as a dire need for medicine, education, care, and understanding.Once in the Plaza, tents were set-up to provide information about HIV/AIDS and speakers from different organizations were giving out information about the disease and the crisis about the medicine.
Although a march and movement have been organized, not enough is being done here in Bolivia to improve the lives of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and to educated others about the disease. I only hope that the Bolivian government will do something to ensure those who need the medicine will receive it.
It never fails to amaze me how wonderful and caring our kids are. They talked to other people at the march, chanted, and participated. They all realize that the medicine crisis will not only affect thousands of people in the country, but will affect people they know and live with. Therefore, participating and taking a stand for something that will improve lives has become important to them.