I entered an the above-mentioned essay competition a month ago and won the top prize, this is one of the AWESOME things that occurred to me that mentioned briefly in recent blog entries. Here are the particulars for the essay:
Do you want to win some quick prizes or some for the Christmas holidays? How do you feel about HIV/AIDS? What do you feel you can contribute towards the fight against HIV/AIDS?
I dare you to take this challenge.
No Research Needed! State How You Feel about the Epidemic, experiences etc.
Topic: HIV & Me. The Reality!
Deadline: December 10th 2009
Word Limit: 350 – 500 Words
Eligible: 18 & over
$500 Cash Prize
2 Round Trip Tickets (Family Island of your Choice)
3 Months Gym Membership
And other exciting prizes.
For December 1st 2009 (World AIDS Day), UniVision is sponsoring a National Essay Competition to enhance the awareness of HIV / AIDS, this year we’ve chosen as our theme HIV and Me. The Reality. This competition is opened to individuals from18 & over.
AND THIS IS THE ESSAY THAT WON ME THE TOP PRIZE:
According to online statistics, almost six thousand people died of AIDS on December 1st of this year and an even greater number became HIV-infected; though most of these men and women won't know this for months or even years. As far as we know, December 1st wasn't any better or worse than any other day in this regard. That it happened to be World AIDS Day was almost incidental.
In trying to articulate my feelings about HIV & Aids, I realize that I am conflicted-feeling a sense of joy on some levels, which may seem ironic and with the same breath some level of anger. An optimist by nature, advancement in treatment and research, increased accessibility to drugs and increased awareness, give me hope that mankind can and will unite against this disease, eventually conquering it. On the other hand, I am perturbed by the alienation experienced by persons who are infected. This can be attributed to the myth that this disease only affects certain marginalized groups and as such a large segment of the society has become apathetic.
Though I was clueless about this disease when it tore through the world in the 80s and 90s, I felt an indescribable energy emanating from infected persons I came in contact with. This ignited the activist spirit which burns in me to this day. I could not fathom that people could not care about something that is so treatable. Moreover, how would I fix it? I came to the realization that though I was only an individual, the change had to begin with me.
As daunting as the task may seem, one individual can make a difference and this one person attempted to do just that through the creation of a blog devoted to HIV/aids awareness. Though this was an important contribution, it cannot be overemphasized that there is more to be done. A revolution, which I have already started with friends and those I have been blessed to come in contact with. I intend to take this fight of education and awareness to schools, churches and civil society. I will demand an honest, coordinated and strategic fighting effort from all concerned groups. How many politicians and others say they care by simply attending the Annual Red Ribbon Ball? Is that good enough? I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t work for me. We have a government that says it wants to be accountable to the people, so I will continuously hold their feet to the HIV/AIDS fire. From monthly marches to seeking out the public airwaves, I will take my message to them and the rest of the Bahamas that HIV/AIDS is a killer that is showing no signs of slowing down.
There is power in the truth and that is my arsenal; and it has been my experience that the power of words coupled with action takes the human mind a long way. We know that we are standing on shifted sand it is only a matter of time before we are engulfed with no signs of relief. HIV/AIDS needs a strong individual that can lead a team of even stronger persons that places emphasis on the quality of live. I believe that I have the power to cripple this disease with love, shatter it with hope and conquer it in my spirit. I live as if every day is World Aids Day because I believe that if one of us has HIV/AIDS then we all do.