Whom do you remember?

On this day where the whole world is celebrating  World AIDS Day, I had the thought that  I would like to reflect on what this day means to  me on a more personal level.

For as long as I can remember, today comes with  mixed feelings as one reads the statistics that the government releases as indicators of progress against the fight for HIV/AIDS. Today I choose to remember and honor those people.

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I am reminded of the courage displayed by young Junaid, whose singing voice had the ability to transform and transport you to other worlds. I am reminded that for him, the sentencing came not from contracting the disease itself, but from the experience of stigma, shame and discrimination so deep against his person and family, that he thought it preferable to end his life. I am reminded that far too often, we have closed  our doors in fear and lack of compassion and  for some, the price has been too high.

I remember Nocawe who carries the guilt of bearing an HIV positive child due to a lack of information and availability of treatment  everyday of her life. I am reminded that she represents many women still in the far rural parts of  our country. She and many like her, are the reason we can not relax in our fight against this disease.

I remember too, those who never experienced the miracle of anti-retro viral treatment like my childhood friend Nombuso, whose passing had the most profound impression upon my young mind and taught me many invaluable lessons about my part in making visible that which is invisible.

On this day, whom do you remember?