Diving into today's World AIDS Day coverage, we highlighted the daunting challenges and causes for optimism surrounding the AIDS pandemic. But all the talk of demoralizing setbacks and sweeping government fixes can leave the individual feeling powerless. What's missing from World AIDS Day, posits Adam Bink at Open Left, is a focus on volunteerism.
Simple awareness is fine, he says, but there's clearly an "overemphasis on quick internet activism" like Facebook updates and Twitter tweets. Since the biggest hope for a cure is a vaccine, what we really need is more people volunteering to participate in HIV vaccine trials:
How are we ever going to get past prevention and onto eradication if we don't get past the perception that these vaccines just make themselves, and volunteering isn't critical? ...We've just achieved a cervical cancer vaccine. Every winter, everyone flocks to get a flu vaccine to the degree that there's always a shortage. Every child gets an MMR vaccine. Hepatitis B. Polio. On and on and on. Americans know how critical vaccines are. What seems to be be unknown is that these vaccines do not come out of thin air. They come from people bravely volunteering to help develop them so that the rest of our country, and the world, can live longer. People bravely volunteer to fight overseas in the name of saving lives. Why don't the rest of us bravely volunteer to save lives here at home? It's time to start volunteering, and for our leaders to start calling for volunteers.