The Silver Lining: HIV/AIDS Awareness

Over the past few days the eventing community has been dealing with a terrible situation.  The success that Darren has had within our sport as an Olympic medalist, the incredible social tensions surrounding many facets of the case, the tragedy of Darren’s fall, and the horrible recklessness described in the allegations make this story a nightmare for our sport. 

 

There have been many valid criticisms of the way Eventing Nation has covered the case, but I think the strongest was revealed by a commenter who suggested we try to find some good in the situation by linking to some HIV/AIDs information.  If we can all walk away from D-Day (as we call it among the EN writers) a little more educated, then we have found a little positive in a very negative time.
What is HIV? What is AIDS?  From the University of Michigan Health System:

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV. White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV invades and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. 

The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be deadly. But having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. Even without treatment, it takes a long time for HIV to progress to AIDS–usually 10 to 12 years. If HIV is diagnosed before it becomes AIDS, medicines can slow or stop the damage to the immune system. With treatment, many people with HIV are able to live long and active lives.

Read more about diagnosis, treatment, and preventiohere.


Big Picture from UNAIDS:

People living with HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2008: 33.4 million

More than 25 million people have died from AIDS since 1981

Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans

Read more


Thanks for reading.  Please consider donating to an HIV/AIDS foundation, such as amfAR.  Go eventing.

Comments

Leave a Reply