What Does World AIDS Day Mean To You?

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Tomorrow is the 15th World AIDS Day. I don’t know if you have an answer to the question above, but I bet you will if you watch this incredible HBO documentary, The Lazarus Effect. Produced by Spike Jonze for the (RED) Campaign co-founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver (brother of Maria), “The Lazarus Effect” introduces us to four HIV-positive people–two women, one man, and one child– who are very much on the verge of death. Then they’re given antiretroviral medications (ARVs), which suppresses the HIV virus, and within months they are physically and emotionally transformed. Seeing the before and after footage of the people featured, and hearing in their own words what it’s like to have a second chance at life, is moving beyond description.

There is one awful exception to this. In the movie, we meet 11-year-old Bwalya, whose parents both died of AIDS. She is gravely ill when she first appears on screen and weighs all of 24 lbs. But the ARVs worked their magic, and we’re privileged enough to see the results. This past August, however, long after the film was complete, Bwalya died of heart failure. Knowing this, it’s very difficult to view the scenes with her and her aunt, who is overjoyed by her niece’s good health.

But watching this movie is 30 minutes well spent. And when you finish, and you’re wondering how you can help eradicate AIDS, head over to joinred.com, which has countless solutions, from cool products to buy, concerts to attend, to ways to spread the word about the power of ARVs.

Please check back tomorrow, when Malaak Compton-Rock has much more to say about World AIDS Day.

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  1. by Anne

    On November 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for telling us about The Lazarus Effect. Very powerful and something that will stay with me for a long time.

    How lucky we are to have people like Bono and Bobby Shriver who are willing to give so much of their time to help others.

    I will be telling my friends about joinred.org.

    Thank you.

  2. by molly fast

    On November 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    wow- such a moving video. and so sad to hear about bwalya. it’s nice that we were able to see just how much the medication helped, depsite her eventual passing.

    for me, world AIDS day is a reminder that it really doesn’t take a lot (on my part- or anyone’s really) to make a big impact on people who really need it the most.

    thank you!

    i hope more people see this as a result of your post and take the step to make a difference in a way that truly matters.

  3. by Diane Garcia

    On November 30, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the advanced notice on the Lazarus Effect. I will definitely tell others to watch this extremely important documentary. Thank God for the Shrivers and all their efforts to educate the public.

  4. [...] is World AIDS Day, which may not resonate with a lot of people the way it did years ago when AIDS was an urgent [...]

  5. by Ziva

    On December 2, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Just came from a World AIDS Day special showing of the documentary, Bad Blood, showing the way that the HIV/AIDS crisis decimated the hemophilia population. It was a sobering, thoughtful movie, and left us with the message: don’t take your health for granted. Don’t be a passive recipient for health care, but read, learn and act to make sure that we all have the medical care that we need.