Festival of Politics - Annie Lennox on HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Founder of the SING campaign set for Edinburgh appearance
This article is from 2010.
Five things you didn’t know about HIV/AIDS in South Africa, by Annie Lennox, musician and founder of the SING campaign for HIV/AIDS women and children.
1. Becoming a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador recently has strengthened and broadened my platform. Michel Sidibé, the director of UNAIDS, is a real visionary who has a very clear and innovative directive as to how he wants to lead the response to the HIV /AIDS pandemic (especially with regard to women and children) and has made it an objective to have zero mother-to-child transmission of the virus by 2015.
2. Stigma isn’t only prevalent in South Africa, stigma is EVERYWHERE... including Scotland, or even possibly in you, dear reader!
3. People are afraid of HIV/AIDS. The issue is loaded with misleading myths and misnomers. Fundamentally, we need decent education so that people understand clearly how the virus is passed on, and how it’s not. It needs to come out of the closet, and be demystified, and understood, just like any other virus.
4. The most significant development is that the South African Government is finally responding appropriately to the situation. Since the launch of the National Strategic plan in April of this year, they are scaling up their response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They aim to halve infection rates, and double levels of treatment, and seem to be very committed to making a real difference, although the challenges are enormous.
5. I cannot tell you that I have a prescriptive stratagem, but I do think it begins with dialogue. I believe that people have to think for themselves as to how they might like to explore the issue further, and how they can personally become engaged. I do think, however, that there needs to be a place for HIV/AIDS with regards to sex education in every school.
Annie Lennox will be appearing at two Festival of Politics events: Annie Lennox and The SING Campaign – One Year On, 19 Aug, and Power of the People, 18 Aug, 1pm, £6.50 (£3). To book, go to www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk