At Asort we create apparel of the highest quality possible and have enhanced the tastes of Indians by acquainting them with garments of a greater calibre than are found elsewhere. Yet we simultaneously aspire to do our best for the betterment of society when a worthwhile cause presents itself. To create a more benign world there are a few things we at Ifazone are passionate about, one among which concerns AIDS and the powerful impact it has on the lives of individuals, communities, and societies. We are delighted that the first day of December was founded as World Aids Day way back in 1988 as it created a platform using which we can successfully address one of the most pressing issues of our times.
To create a more harmonious world we wish to bring to light the latest findings concerning AIDS and to shatter unfounded yet prevalent perceptions commonly found in society about this disease. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and it was identified less than 24 years ago in 1984. If someone is infected with the HIV virus it doesn’t mean that they have AIDS, someone can be infected with HIV but not have AIDS for a number of years if ever.
Across the globe today, nearly 37 million people are living with the HIV virus and nearly as many have died due to AIDS since the disease was identified in 1984. Many of those who are living with HIV and AIDS face a great deal of stigma from a society which elects to shun social interaction with such individuals. In many cases, close relatives also turn their backs on members who have been infected with HIV. Many individuals who have been infected with HIV have to deal with the double blow of living with a life-threatening and potentially fatal disease and having to face social ostracism. Such immense difficulties often lead many infected with HIV to develop additional problems such as poor mental health.
Often the perception of those who have contracted the HIV virus is that they lead immoral lives and this perception leads to such individuals being unable to find employment which would allow them to earn a livelihood. Additionally the perception that AIDS is a highly contagious disease results in many people, many of them well educated, refusing to work alongside those they know to have the HIV virus.
Those who have AIDS are perhaps the greatest victims of societies ignorance and precisely at the time when they most need societies to support, it turns their backs on them.
At Asort we believe in the universality of men and strive to empower those who we feel are being treated unfairly by society. AIDS is a disease that does not discriminate between social class, religion, educational achievement, employment status, or gender. As difficult as it may be to accept, anyone can contract AIDS even thru no fault of their own.
Many still remain ignorant as to the fact that many of those who have contracted this disease are still able to lead healthy, fulfilling, and joyful lives. For instance, the star of Three and a Half Men and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Charlie Sheen, is infected with the HIV virus. However, thanks to discoveries made by the latest medicine he is able to lead a full life and enjoy fulfilling relations with members of his family and with society. Over the past few decades, numerous advances in medicine mean that AIDS may no longer be as deadly a disease as it is still popularly perceived to be.
There is more reason for cheer, in India, while slightly more than 20 lakh individuals are currently infected with HIV, the spread of the disease has slowed drastically over the past few years.
At Asort we believe that all individuals, regardless of any shortcomings, deserve to be treated with dignity and we are striving to create a world that is free from bigotry, racism, and other social ills that rob men and women of their dignity. Despite the stigma associated with AIDS, it is no longer the cul de sac to live it had been in the past.
Recent advances in medicine have made it far more likely that those infected with HIV will continue to live long fulfilling lives without developing AIDS. Antiretroviral treatment, which slows the rate at which HIV copies itself inside the human body, has been available in India for nearly 13 years. Such drugs lower the HIV count to the point that HIV cannot be detected using a conventional blood test.
While the war against AIDS is far from finished many small battles in the fight for the rights of those infected with HIV have been already won. For instance, nearly four years ago an HIV/AIDS bill protecting the rights of those infected with AIDS was passed. This bill ensures the right to privacy to those infected with HIV/AIDS and prohibits discrimination against them in the realms of gaining employment and protection against termination, allows them to buy insurance, and offers freedom to travel using public transport.
While the road ahead of us is long and our endeavour to birth a more equitable and fair world seems far in the horizon, we remain resolute and continue to derive inspiration from the words of the American poet Robert Lee Frost
The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep
But I have Promises to Keep
And Miles to go Before I Sleep
And Miles to go Before I Sleep