Wednesday, August 30, 2006

International Carnival of Pozitivities--Call for submissions for edition 3

The International Carnival of Pozitivities, a blog carnival for people living with HIV/AIDS, their families, friends or caregivers, is still accepting submissions for its third edition to be hosted at aids-write.org. Deadline for submissions is 2 September at midnight US EDT. Richard Kearns, founder of aids-write.org, will serve as host.

Many of you may feel that HIV/AIDS is not part of your life, but I would submit to you that as long as any one of us is living with this disease, we are all living with AIDS. Please consider writing a blog entry about HIV/AIDS and submitting it to the carnival to share your stories of how HIV/AIDS impacts your life. You do not have to be HIV+ for there to be huge impacts on you, your friends or families.

The aim of this blog carnival is to provide a forum for the real authentic voices of this pandemic. Mainstream media have bought into and promoted the commonly believed idea that HIV/AIDS is no longer a huge issue. If you listen to current opinion, our new medications have reduced this monster disease into an illness that one can manage with one or two pills a day, "much like diabetes."

This is simply not the case. First, any of you who has ever dealt with trying to manage diabetes will recognize the folly of any statement such as the one applied to HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, if you are living with HIV/AIDS and taking medications, you have no doubt become familiar with the side-effects of the medications. If not yet, then down the road you will find that your virus will mutate and the medications you are taking today may no longer work in the future. Yes, our lives here in the western world have been extended, but the disease and the side-effects of its medications continue to be seriously grave. Instead of the word "cocktail", we should instead think of the drug regimens as daily, unending, permanent and life-long chemotherapy.

With all that having been said, we in the West are so much more fortunate than our counterparts in Asia and Africa. In many countries, the stigma of HIV/AIDS continues to be severe. Many countries can hardly afford to test their citizens for HIV exposure, much less provide medications for them. The potential for social and political collapse in countries where the citizens of "middle age" are dying off is immense.

Each of us has a story about HIV/AIDS, even if that story is a reflection on how you don't know anyone who is infected. We need to hear all of your stories and we need to promote the voices from these mirrors of genuine reality to counter the myths and misconceptions about this illness. As such, I am also calling for non-HIV community bloggers with high volume readership to consider hosting the carnival. If we can get out the message to the mainstream, perhaps we can keep some unsuspecting teen from contracting the virus because of prudishness, failure to discuss means of prevention or failure to speak truthfully about the impact of this disease.

Please consider writing about HIV/AIDS and discussing the illness with your families and friends. At the very least, please visit the International Carnival of Pozitivities and read about the impact of this disease on those who are living with it.

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