Sound the Call for World AIDS Day

When I decided to make this video, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

It began all too innocently, a meeting and some phrases thrown around such as “$50 billion for global AIDS” or “PEPFAR and Global Fund.” While I knew of its importance, I’ve never done much with HIV/AIDS in college. But after I learned more about the issue in medical school, my perspective has changed for 3 reasons.

It’s more than just about HIV/AIDS: it’s about global health and health as a human right. Strengthening HIV/AIDS programs has shown to be able to strengthen health care systems in general and provide basic health care to those living in poverty and underserved areas of the world. This makes sense because when you tackle problems related to HIV/AIDS, you end up tackling problems that also cause and exacerbate the spread HIV/AIDS and other diseases, which include socioeconomic and gender inequalities.

It’s more than just about politics: it’s about a moral imperative. Many of our rallies have targeted the Obama administration, lobbying it to increase global AIDS funding. But in the end it’s really about the 33.4 million people in the world living with HIV/AIDS and the millions who will never stand a chance against the disease because they’ll never receive treatment. Global AIDS funding is not the only way to provide treatment, but it is an important and integral step to improve its access and availability.

Finally it’s more than just about me: it’s about all of us. Through meetings, rallies and making this video, I have met some of the most passionate and intellectual people I’ve ever known. Students, professors, community organizers, and people living with HIV/AIDS have come together to stand in solidarity for a singular cause. My good friend John puts it well when he says, “Personally, I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where I’ve never had to know someone who’s died of AIDS. But over time I’ve come to realize that I don’t want to be part of a world that just turns its back on this.” I too have been privileged and I too don’t want to contribute to a world that condemns people to living in poverty with disease.

That is why on World AIDS Day December 1st, we are sounding the call for more global AIDS funding. It’s about human rights. It’s about a moral imperative. And it’s about all of us.

This is the first video I’ve made with The Jubilee Project, which is an initiative that makes videos for a good cause. Thank you to Dr. Paul Farmer, Partners In Health, and everyone else who helped. I hope you enjoy and please spread the word about this important cause!

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