Go Buy a Ribbon!World Aids Day

Posted on December 1st, 2008 by A/C

Have you bought your Ribbon?
Today is World Aids Day. Did you know?

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money for AIDS charity “AVERT”, but just as importantly, it is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is an important reminder, that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

This post is possibly a little long and I am not making any apologies for this. This is a subject which I take very seriously, read on you’ll see why.
I did think about posting a list of actors, musicians, and celebrities who had past due to this disease, but the list was too great and rather depressing. I thought of taking a religious view, but the Pope is still telling people not to use Condoms and that just doesnt cut it. So  I decided to tell you of our experience and give you a personal account.

It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.” – Elizabeth Taylor

I am old enough to remember when this thing first came about. When the words HIV and AIDS first hit our Newspapers, Televisions etc. Little did we know then of the epidemic which the human race would encounter.

It took us out of our safe little world and pushed this thing onto us.
You had all the mis-communication, mis-information. Things started to go crazy with information such as:

  • You can only get it if you are GAY! this one was my favourite… how stupid.
  • If someone has it don’t touch them,
  • Don’t let them in your house,
  • Don’t let them breathe on you,
  • Then there was the you can catch AIDS and HIV by hugging, sex, kissing, sharing a glass, if they sneeze on you, from their blood, if you sit down on the same seat, if use the toilet after them and the list goes on and on. Some correct most scare mongering.

Those horrid Grim Reaper commercials they showed on Australian TV, scared me half to death.  The Grim Reeper Campaign still sends shivers down my spin

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This was however no laughing matter for us.

We had many friends who were gay; we stayed with them for a while,and were there when 2 friends received their positive results and for a while after. This was in the mid 1980′s right at the beginning of what was to become a plague and it was a Death sentence, during this time we lost many good friends.

Many Died from Aids related illness, you see people didn’t die from Aids directly; they died from other illness, such as pneumonia, which Aids prevented their bodies fighting, many others, after seeing what their friends were going through, decided to suicide first. They simply didn’t want to go through that.

After a while we didn’t attend the funerals, they were so frequent, we just couldn’t do it anymore, we lost count how many of the friends we lost, and so many great people over the years.

However even the hospitals did not know how to treat infected people.  The Doctors had nothing they could do, nor did they know how it was transmitted, they treated the illness at the time as best they could generally with Antibiotics, but it was a loosing battle.

Then there was the prejudice sufferers faced, they must be Gay. The bashings and the exiling from communities became the norm. Scary times.

Then there came a little Girl.

Eve Van Grafhorst was then the first Australian child to be HIV infected. She contracted the disease via a polluted blood transfusion – cruelly the last of the 11 she needed to save her life as a premature baby.

This child and her family were ostracized. The family lived in Kincumber on the Central Coast of NSW between Sydney and Newcastle. When the family attempted to enroll her in a kindergarten/preschool, the other parents withdrew their children fearing their children would catch the disease. Such was the fear of Aids; the family was eventually forced to leave the country. A sad indictment on our society back then.

They moved to New Zealand in 1986. In contrast to the ostracism they had received in Australia, the Van Grafhorst family was welcomed; Eve lived a relatively normal life and attended a local school without incident.

Eve passed away at the age of 11 in 1993.

She helped raise the issue and the awareness of the world to many facts.

This was no longer a disease of the Gay Community; it could affect anyone, even the very young.
It can be contracted from sharing needles, unprotected sex, blood transfusions, a cut and contact with blood, body fluids and even breast milk.

Thankfully these days much more is known about the disease and treatments are helping thousands to live with  dignity whilst having quality of life.

The facts Today are just as chilling as always. Possibly more so given what we know about HIV/AIDS.

  • Before 1981 in America the stats were 100 diagnosed and 30 deaths
  • In 1981 —————–339 diagnosed and 130 deaths
  • In 1987 ————- 29,105 diagnosed and 16,488 deaths

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In 2007 they are:

  • People living with HIV/AIDS Gobally in 2007— —33.0 million 30.3-36.1 million
  • Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 ———— 30.8 million 28.2-34.0 million
  • Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 ————15.5 million 14.2-16.9 million
  • Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 ———– 2.0 million 1.9-2.3 million
  • People newly infected with HIV in 2007 ———- 2.7 million 2.2-3.2 million
  • Children newly infected with HIV in 2007 ———0.37 million 0.33-0.41 million
  • AIDS deaths in 2007 ————————- 2.0 million 1.8-2.3 million
  • Child AIDS deaths in 2007 ——————– 0.27 million 0.25-0.29 million
  • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.
  • Africa has 11.6 million AIDS orphans.
  • At the end of 2007, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Young people (under 25 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide.
  • In developing and transitional countries, 9.7 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 2.99 million (31%) are receiving the drugs.

Scary isnt it, whats worse is finding you have it, we know we have seen the faces of many being told.

Although there are a lucky few scattered over the Globe who seem to have a natural immunity to this disease, it still does not have a cure. Regardless of where it originated, how it came to be, or how it was first spread (this is a useless blame game) a cure needs to found.

Facing AIDS - World AIDS day 2008

On this the 1st of December Bloggers worldwide are banding together in an effort to raise awareness, gather funds and show support for those suffering. Why not join in display a banner, show you care.

Bloggers Unite of the World Unites

On Today International World Aids Day

Buy a Ribbon; Make a Donation, Help Find a Cure.

23 Responses to “Go Buy a Ribbon!World Aids Day”

  1. [...] have posted an article on Go Smell the Flowers , what life was like when this first hit our [...]

  2. AC,

    I remember the late 80′s/early 90′s, it was horrible and the stigma, condemnation, misconceptions, paranoia and deaths were horrible. I was also teaching sex education to teens and developmentally disabled adults. We know so much more now. We have come so far and haven’t. It is still thought of as a “gay” disease and in some churches as “punishment.” This despite the fact that globally most infected with HIV are heterosexual. The lastest rise in cases is alarming and I don’t want to go through another period like the first again. I think people got lulled into thinking that it does not cause death because you look as someone like Magic Johnson and Greg Louganis who don’t look ill and they have been infected for a long time. It is also time that there are more PSA’s with celebrities with HIV telling the truth about the disease.

    I have a banner displayed on all my blogs!!


    • A/C says:

      GDay CC

      I think the wake up call for many was Rock Hudson, and I remember the Churches stance many still hold those views.
      One day a Cure will found, but until then the best cure is prevention.

      Knowledge is the key

  3. Jim says:

    Thanks AC and SAFE group hugs all round!

    Great job on the banner….

  4. arvind says:

    Thanks AC – great post. You reminded me to write about Aids on my post.

    I remember in the mid 80′s when Aids was supposedly first “discovered”.

    A pharmacist friend told me about it and shared this story about how it was supposedly contracted after a white man in Africa has sex with a monkey!

    This just shows what ignorance there was in the early days. There is so much ignorance about Aids and I really hope the awareness day today helps spread the word extensively. It is about educating others and supporting those who already have contracted it.

    Coincidentally, last Thursday I met this amazing lady Getrude Matshe, originally from Zimbabwe who is working relentlessly hard to help the aids affected children in Africa:-


    I have offered to market her book “Born on the continent – Ubuntu” in the UK via word of mouth and Amazon UK. Every little bit helps to spread Aids awareness and I am inspired to do my bit by supporting Getrude and her work.

    Thanks again AC for writing this wonderful post.

    • A/C says:

      Ah yes the Monkey story, we heard this one too….

      Zimbabwe is suffering badly as is many African Nations, I hope plenty of her book sell, they need plenty of help.

      Its great to see folks supporting and helping in a positive way.

  5. Lib says:

    Yep, this is definitely a subject that needs to be elevated all year round, not just for a day.

    A very good friend of mine is HIV positive and I’m thankful that it was diagnosed in the last year, rather than say 10 years ago. So much more is known and so much more help is offered.

    I know only converse with them through email and never go round to the house (JOKE)

    Where’s Elt anyway? This is a subject/charity close to his heart/wig.

    • Lib says:

      You’ve inspired me AC, I’ve just booked tickets for ce soir to the 21st World Aids Day concert at the Bridgewater hall here in Manchester.

      All profits go to Mission Malawi for Action Aid.

      • A/C says:

        Oh WOW Lib,

        I hope you post about it, some times I wish I was closer to the action.

        Glad to have been inspiration, ;) should be a heck of concert, and raise plenty of funds and much awareness…


        • Lib says:

          It was a brilliant concert AC, it was the first time I’d seen the Halle Orchestra and the Halle choir, they rocked.

          Well, not rocked because it was classical, you get what I mean.

        • A/C says:

          any photos Lib…

          It sounds like a blast….

          envy brewing… lol….

        • Lib says:

          No photos unfortunately AC, strictly forbidden, something to do with the copyright of Halle.

        • A/C says:


          Well I am glad you had a great time….
          who played…. ??

        • Lib says:

          The had a soprano (Rebecca Bottone) and a baritone (Roderick Williams – fit) and they were singing poems composed by 7 authors throughout the world backed by the halle choir and orchestra (they could have been singing their shopping list for all I knew though)

          They finished with the faure requiem which was quite awesome.

          It was only half full surpisingly.

  6. [...] talks about confusion, mis-information and grief that surrounded HIV/AIDS in the mid 1980s in Go, Buy a Ribbon! WorldAIDS Day. The post includes an image and videos from Australia AIDS Awareness [...]

  7. RYK says:

    I love this passionate and detailed post and I learnt a lot today. For some reason I thought Aids was close to eradicated and didn’t nearly half a million people contacts aids every year. Though it’s seems small at just 0.001% of the world’s population getting aids every year, we must eradicate the virus at all costs. Blog posts like these help re-enforce the message and keep in focus the steps we must take.

    • A/C says:

      Your not alone RYK.
      I think it has to do with the amount or lack of community service announcements in the media.

      The stats look small in %, but figures are at the moment on the increase, perhaps due to the lack of those announcements and peoples complacencies.
      Thats why Awareness Days like these are so important.

      • Jim says:


        IN Dubai every 3 years an HIV /AIDS test is a must to get a work visa – no purple robes required though AKA OSHO!

        • A/C says:

          Down here there is nothing like it..
          In Tassie they don’t even ask the question when given needles or taking blood..
          However this is a State which only legalised Homosexuality a few years ago..
          I doubt they have even heard of HIV and if they have they think its Headphone or some other thing

          Shame really,but neighbour had never heard of it, until we spoke… and she is in her 50′s

  8. AC,

    DaWanda online shopping artists made special World AIDS day items. They are under Design Against AIDS. 10% of the selling cost goes directly to the non profit organisation Designers Against AIDS in support of their work to raise AIDS Awareness. The link is http://en.dawanda.com/s/designagainstaids/1626?page=1


  9. Tarbrush Mbeki says:

    No such thing as AIDS here in South Africa so there was no world aids day

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