It came from nowhere and developed into one of the world’s most devastating diseases in just a quarter of a century. As the 25th anniversary of the first case of HIV/AIDS approaches, Network Europe examines the efforts to raise awareness and hears from parts of Europe where stigmatization is still a reality...
We hear from our reporter in Brussels, and a competition to find the best AIDS awareness TV advert, warning - they all contain condoms.
The French Presidential election just a few months away and the front runners are trying some new tricks to win the top job
HIV-AIDS at 25
The statistics are extraordinary - 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS around the world. Three million people died this year and another 4.3 million were newly infected. Earlier this week, these figures were released as part of the UN’s annual census on the global fight against HIV and AIDS. Radio Netherlands spoke to Dutch AIDS ambassador Paul Bekkers, who told us the positives and the problems highlighted in the report...
Still a stigma in Cyprus
Ever since the first mysterious reports of the disease fear, denial and stigma have accompanied the AIDS epidemic. And in many countries around the world the disease is closely associated with discrimination – individuals affected by HIV have been rejected by their families, their friends and their communities. In Cyprus the official number with HIV is around 500, but AIDS support groups estimate the figure is four times that - a significant figure for an island of less than a million people where everybody knows each other. The Cypriot in the street seems to believe AIDS isn’t a problem, but prejudice isn’t far beneath the surface...
Many people still suffer from the stigma attached to the disease although some efforts to educate have been successful. 14 years ago, Amsterdam hosted the International AIDS conference in the ongoing effort to debunk the myths surrounding the virus. Network Europe caught up with 2 of the men behind what has now become the world’s famous symbol of AIDS awareness - the red ribbon.
Coordination is key
Governments vary a lot in their commitment to the fight against the disease, and one country with a real drive to combat AIDS is Sweden. Sweden’s designated the fight against HIV/AIDS as a central focus of its development aid policy and it’s put a lot of money into prevention in developing countries. But coordinating these prevention efforts is often inefficient and money gets wasted.
French politics goes American!?
The French Presidential election next year is one of the EU’s top political events of 2007. The race to win that presidency is already underway in earnest. The 2 main candidates, socialist media darling, Segolene Royale and her right wing rival Nicolas Sarkozy have both been tapping opinion on the streets of France for ideas. It’s an American “Town Hall Meeting” style of doing things and another example of what’s shaping into an American style campaign.