July 7th, 2008 by admin
Nelson Mandela said in 2005 that ‘massive poverty and extreme inequality are such terrible scourges of our time that they rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.’ Tackling HIV and AIDS, which is both a cause and symptom of poverty, is a crucial part of this year’s campaign to Make Poverty History. HIV infection rates in the UK are increasing rapidly – HIV and AIDS is not just a problem for the developing world.
However, we cannot accept that all this is inevitable. ‘Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.’
- Drugs which significantly increase the life expectancy of people living with HIV do exist, but are not made available to the millions of people who desperately need them because no one is willing to pay.
- International trade rules are deliberately manipulated to prevent cheap access to these medicines, but this need not be the case.
- Poverty reduction, and everything that that entails, would significantly improve the lives of people infected or affected by HIV. In many developing countries this is everyone.
- Education, but not education constrained by an imposition of personal religious beliefs, and access to information and materials such as condoms could be hugely beneficial.
- Female education and empowerment in developing countries could be crucial to overcoming the pandemic.
These are just a few examples of things which we, as rich and prosperous western nations, could directly influence if we were willing to show some commitment. Nelson Mandela, in probably his last public appearance in the UK, said ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.’
We set up CSAS in November 2004 to provide a Cambridge focus for efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS both internationally and in the UK. Our aim is to campaign, raise awareness and fundraise to help those infected or affected by HIV throughout the world. We have teamed up with other local groups, both university and Cambridgeshire based. Although set up initially by university students, we do not want the society to be the preserve of the university, and welcome anyone from the university or from the wider Cambridge community.
We are also a member of the Cambridge Hub, a focal point for charitable, ethical, campaigning and volunteering activities in Cambridge University.
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