Each week I look forward to spending an hour reading the Sentinel-Times to catch up on local matters and sometimes issues from further afield.
In the issue dated November 24, two articles about local people helping others less fortunate in developing countries caught my attention -‘Rebuilding a school in Nepal’ and ‘Throwing money into toilets’.
Each dealt with an aspect of life that we lucky Australians take for granted – education for our kids and the provision of safe sanitation in our homes.
With December 1 being World AIDS Day, I thought it appropriate to share the current situation for those people living with AIDS – another problem for people living in poverty.
Though it’s no longer the death sentence it was 15 years ago, AIDS still killed 1.2 million people globally in 2014.
Apparently AIDS is the final stage after the HIV infection and people usually live just one to three years once they have AIDS.
The good news is that if treatment is given for HIV, then AIDS is prevented.
That treatment plan is what the Australian Government has invested in since 2004 via the partnership organisation, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Hence, over that time, we’ve funded 110,000 people with HIV, access to antiretroviral medication.
There’s a worldwide goal to beat the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
More than half of HIV infected people cannot yet access treatment, though 15 million currently do.
Surely most Australians would want to contribute to beating AIDS.
But with the recent and possibly further overseas aid budget cuts this December, we could jeopardise that goal.
We could all join those locals who actively support everyone’s right to access basic services like education, sanitation and health care, by writing to our Federal MPs reminding them that, rather than reducing funds for such services, the Australian aid budget should reflect our philosophy of a ‘fair go’!
Sue Packham, Woolamai.