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30 years of HIV and AIDS epidemic: Older people in Africa reflect how times have changed

01 Jun 2011

The first case of AIDS was diagnosed 30 years ago, on 5 June, 1981.

In the lead-up to the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on HIV on 8 June, we spoke with older carers and health workers in Africa about their memories of the early days of HIV and AIDS.

The photogallery below contains their reflections and contains some very encouraging comments about how times have moved on and the progress, particularly in knowledge and attitudes, that has been made.

(To view gallery and captions: click centre arrow > click icon in bottom right hand corner to view full screen > click Show Info in top right corner)


But there is plenty more to do.

I am currently in New York where I will attend the two-day Global Partners Forum on Children affected by HIV and AIDS on 3 June, hosted by UNICEF, UNAIDS and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The meeting will discuss ensuring children remain a priority in the HIV response.

Then on 8 June I will represent HelpAge at the UN High Level Meeting.

I will be joined by Kufekisa Laugery, a grandmother from Zambia who is caring for her family affected by HIV, and her 14-year-old grandson Minyoi.

Kufekisa will speak at a side event highlighting the issues she faces as a grandparent carer and I am really looking forward to her getting her views across.

It is crucial that children and their families receive the support they need, and with 40-60% of orphaned children in east and southern Africa being looked after by their grandparents, any response to the HIV epidemic must also recognise and support older carers.

This UN High Level Meeting on HIV provides a vital opportunity to ensure people aged 50 and over are included.

We will be calling on member states and the broader UN system to do just that. We will also be advocating for greater attention to care and support.

I will update you on mine and Kufekisa's progress in a few days...

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Rachel Albone
Job title: HIV and AIDS Policy Advisor

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.