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World AIDS Day 2017: Continued Concern
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 6, 2017) As every year since 1988, World AIDS Day was celebrated last Friday, December 1st. Aside from a number of positive comments about the subject in the media, there is also reason for concern.
Certainly not a reason for major concern but surprising nonetheless: Google did not mark the occasion with any special event this year although the search engine company has frequently changed the design of its home page or the decoration of its headquarters for such special occasions in the past.
Much more worrisome is the fact that the worldwide epidemic is not on the decline. Based on the most recent figures (of 2016) of the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.8 million people were newly infected with the virus within one year.
A third reason to worry has to do with the perception of HIV/AIDS by the general public, and more specifically by the younger generations. A survey carried out for the French organization AIDES on this topic obviously applies to France and the French population primarily. However, its results may well be applicable to other countries in Western and Central Europe.
This survey particularly shows how uncomfortable many people are in dealing with HIV-positive persons: 10% of the respondents would not like to share the same doctor’s office with HIV-positive people, 16% prefer not to have any as work colleagues and 21% do not want positive people to be responsible for their children’s education. Most surprisingly, the corresponding figures for the age group of 18 to 24 are 15%, 30% and 33%! Apparently, younger people are less well informed about HIV and AIDS, and prejudices on HIV, AIDS and HIV-positive people are more persistent than we would like to think.
(The survey was conducted in October 2017 among a representative sample of 1000 respondents.)