The AIDS March
We went on to the Global Village and split up, James (my roommate) wanted to watch the main stage and I wanted to go around to network. Time was fast and soon we had to meet up at the treatment networking booth for the march meet-up. I was looking around and I was like, “I thought there were going to be more marchers?” Malu, a fellow pinoy based in Thailand said that Section 27 (a treatment actvist group) would have mobilized locales for the march. We then walked on to the buses and drove off to the park where the march will start.
As the bus approached the park, I saw a swarm of men and women in the park shouting, celebrating, having fun.
It took some time before the actual march started but I was, even before the march started, overwhelmed by the number of people in the park. The march started and the walk was rather slow, there were thousands of men and women and one wouldn’t expect the walk to be any faster.
The South Africans were chanting, or were they singing? I didn’t understand a word but I had goosebumps because of their passion as they relentlessly chanted (or sang) and laughed and had fun under the heat of the sun while the cold breeze just brought more chills down my spine.
There were cheers, “Human rights (NOW!), Treatment (NOW!).
The crowd stopped in front of the city hall, chanted, made noise. Calling the attention of the south African government.
Why the treatment theme of the walk?
You see, we may have free ARVs in the Philippines, but we don’t have any substitute for those ARVs. We have a very limited options of ARVs and in time, those who have been in certain ARVs for so many years may develop resistance, and then we don’t have anything beyond alluvia. Are they a lot? I doubt it, they may just be less than 5 percent of those on ARV. But what we have to understand is that EVERY LIFE COUNTS.
There are countries in Easter Europe and Central Asia that are yet to be provided with ARV.
Global fund is pulling out of the middle-income countries.
Some countries do not have access to generic medicines.
And we want the 2030 target of what? Ending AIDS?
NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.
The issue of no ARVs is not ours in the Philippines, but we need to understand that we are one big community globally and their issues are ours as well. It would be easy to be selfish and just think of our issues in our own country, but this is where the phrase “no one left behind” comes in.
Let us not leave our brothers and sisters behind, as we don’t want to be left behind ourselves.
HIV & AIDS Support House Inc.