Events held in every part of the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS come and go. Millions of people are infected by the virus, but only a few of the uninfected people actually think about it. The international HIV/AIDS day was supposed to be the day to raise awareness, to give hope and to give life. Yet the importance of that day has been forgotten by many.
Just look around you. When World AIDS Day came, did your neighbors know about it? How about your friends or relatives? What about your schoolmates or college buddies, did they remember?
Statistics released by the Association of Indonesian Physicians Concerned about HIV/AIDS were grim: The numbers of those infected in our country alone this year rose by more than double compared to new cases in 2002.
Obviously the people responsible for shedding light on this illness are not doing their job properly. Promoting the dangers of needle-sharing and the safety of condom use is just not enough to open our citizens' eyes to the danger that is killing our own people.
It is a pity that our country still sees AIDS as a shame, so those infected feel embarrassed to admit they have it. Shame should not be laid on those who've been infected with the virus because that shame is a key reason this syndrome continues to spread.
Without taking anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, the infected will only see their condition deteriorate, which is unnecessary since treatments for the disease have been developed. ARV has been made affordable and easy to get a hold of in many parts of the world, including Indonesia, though now many countries' supplies are running short.
One step our government has taken to raise awareness about how to prevent HIV/AIDS is Mondom, National Condom Week 2008 in Indonesia.
But when Julia Perez bundled free condoms with her album, she was harshly criticized because her creative promotion was considered taboo.
Open minds, acceptance and care are all we need to raise much-needed attention to the battle to prevent further HIV/AIDS infections, yet these very same three factors are what people of our generation still find hard to discover and believe in.