We need to shake off our apathy if we’re going to make a difference in the fight against HIV and Aids.

Today is World Aids Day. Presidents, prime ministers and premiers from across the globe will be making speeches about the epidemic and how it needs our attention now more than ever. True, but it’s going to take more than a red ribbon on your shirt. It’s going to take action – and more than that, the will to act.

After more than two decades of Aids education campaigns, the world is tired of hearing about the disease. It’s a phenomenon called “HIV fatigue”, where people switch off and ignore the message. Yes, they know Aids is a killer. Yes, they know they should use a condom or abstain. Yes, they know they shouldn’t share needles. But they seem to be locked in an it-will-never-happen-to-me mentality. They think Aids is someone else’s problem. They think governments and health agencies should take responsibility. Wrong, folks. It is up to us. The responsibility lies with us. All of us.

If we’re going to stem the tide of infection, we need to be proactive about it. We need to shake off our apathy. We need to get involved. Start by talking about the disease – in too many places, it’s still a taboo topic. Then, do what you can to make a difference.

Educate yourself. Know the facts. Spread the word, not the virus.

The title of this post is borrowed from the lyrics of Sparkle Me by The Buffseeds.


Janine Papendorf likes coffee, chocolate and wine. Not necessarily in that order. She’s married to a nerdy biker and they’re raising Cape Town’s cleverest child. When she’s not building Lego castles or watching old movies, Janine likes to send words into cyberspace. She’s a freelance writer and content strategist based in South Africa’s beautiful Mother City. Witness her obsession with pink flowers on Instagram, or contact her to collaborate on a project.


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