Tears came to my eyes when I read this story
. Nelson Mandela has been a hero of mine for many years, and his life has recently been filled with much personal tragedy. To have his last surviving son be struck down by this hideous disease is so, so, sad.
With Mandela's public announcement, however, this tragedy might yet result in some good. (Please continue after the jump)
Admitting AIDS as a cause of death is still very taboo in many African nations, and the reluctance to talk about AIDS and its causes helps spread the plague. As American AIDS activists know, SILENCE=DEATH. The amount of misinformation about AIDS in Africa is stunning. Hopefully, Mandela's courageous step will help to educate the African public and lessen the stigma that perpetuates the silence about the disease.
AIDS is still a terrible scourge, wiping out shocking numbers of people all over the globe. Unlike the tsunami, it's not a sudden, horrific disaster. AIDS is a creeping malignancy that is nevertheless at least on par with the worst natural disaster. But its relatively slow spread makes it easier to ignore.
Please send your prayers/good thoughts to the Mandela family, and please remember AIDS relief in your future charitable donations.