“The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” (Joseph Stalin. Maybe)
There is no proof that this notorious man has ever said such words but that’s not the point. The point is that, sadly, this quote seems to represent our attitude towards death. I am not saying that you should regularly contemplate on 48 million soldiers and civilians who died during the WWII while having your morning coffee but some reflection on the issue is needed.
We not only tend to distance ourselves from statistics like that but we are also constantly ignoring the only thing which we can be sure of in our lives and that is the fact that sooner or later each and every one of us is going to die.
What is even worse, we are so much afraid of this undeniable truth, that we push aside everything that reminds us of it, including certain people, to be precise – around 34 million of them at the very moment. This is not war related statistics. This number represents people who are currently living with HIV globally. This number stands for people who are often looked on as part of statistics nobody wants to have anything to do with.
1 December was World AIDS Day. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with this disease and to commemorate people who have died. This day is important because, even though a lot of scientific advances in HIV treatment have been made, the society is still not informed well enough on the ways of catching the virus or the condition of people who have it. Consequently, this leads to misconceptions and prejudice and causes challenges for quite a few among us.
We need to raise our awareness and show support. This is the reason why we chose AIDS as our term of the week. Whether we like it or not, we all have an expiry date. Whatever the circumstances, it should not be seen as a reason not to live your life to the fullest or to make it difficult for somebody else.
Learn some facts on HIV here:
Online quiz: Are you HIV aware?
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By Julija Televičiūtė
Graduate from Vilnius University, English Philology (BA)
Translation trainee at Lithuanian Unit