World AIDS Day

Dec 1, 2007

What does red ribbon mean to you? The ribbon can mean anything from "I'm Angry" to "I sympathise". It is symbolic of the spectrum of emotions that surrounds AIDS. The colour red is not only for blood, but for anger, passion, and love as well. The Red Ribbon is an inverted "V" because there has been no victory.

Today is a World AIDS Day. The theme for this year is "STOP AIDS; KEEP THE PROMISE - LEADERSHIP". It highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organisations, rather than just governments to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.

Through the training of my company antiretroviral drug, I have learnt some facts & knowledges on this disease. The trend for HIV infections & AIDS cases in Malaysia have gone up tremendously from year 1993-2006, ranging from 8000-73000 cases & 200-12000 cases respectively. Most of the routes of transmission are from Injection Drug Users & heterosexual. When I did the data compilation for one of the hospital, a female who is only at the age of 21 years old female has HIV infections. The saddest part is when I visited my paediatricians during their HIV clinic day, I can see the parents or their relatives bringing their baby or children for check-up & consultation. I avoided it sometimes. Please do not misunderstand that I discriminated them. Just that I felt sad to see the young & innocent one suffered due to their irresponsible parents.

Good news is that started in June 2006, all HIV / AIDs patients who are under HAART (Highly Active AntiRetroviral Therapy) are getting the 1st line regimen (3 drugs) free. It is quite diffcult to get the patient to adhere to the treatment therapy. Imagine with the pills burden (3 drugs) & also the schedules (some are taking 2 times a day, some are either taking before or after food), they tends to miss their dose sometimes. This is the most problematic & challenging task for the physician as once the virus mutated, they will have to alter the patient regimen again.

So, with the World AIDS Day, lets put on this Red Ribbon to show that we support people living with HIV/AIDS in a simple and powerful way.