30 years of German AIDS Service Organization
The German AIDS Service Organization supports people who are HIV positive.
False or outdated ideas are still widespread about the illness AIDS which can break out after becoming infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV. But a lot has happened since 1982, when the German news magazine Der Spiegel first published reports about the disease, and the first case in Germany was diagnosed a few weeks later. Scientists have developed medications that help the immune system to recover remarkably well. In the early days, people regarded the diagnosis as the prelude to certain death, but nowadays in Germany patients can look forward to an almost normal life span if they enter therapy in good time. And surveys show that more than 90 per cent of the German population oppose the exclusion of people with HIV/AIDS.
To a large extent these changes can be attributed to the work of the German AIDS Service Organization (DAH). The organization celebrated its 30th anniversary in September 2013. As the umbrella organization of 120 support agencies throughout the country, the DAH provides extensive information surrounding AIDS. It ranges from medical aspects, drugs, sexuality, work and legal issues. One of the DAH’s most important instruments is the Internet. According to findings at the University of Greifswald, the organization reached 354,000 people with its online site in 2012 and is now the leading source of information about HIV and AIDS.
This isn’t surprising, because the DAH has set up numerous innovative projects. These include the campaign that was launched in its anniversary year under the title “Did you know?” which modifies outdated ideas about living with HIV, combats discrimination and spotlights areas where support needs improvement. In addition to this, the DAH dedicates its efforts to numerous projects that make everyday life easier for HIV positive people. The DAH has sealed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) which ensures that people with HIV receive good advice services at job centres and employment agencies. And the network Afro-Leben+ is developing strategies to combat the stigmatization of HIV positive immigrants.
World AIDS Day on 1 December 2013