Friday, 2 December 2011

HIV or Unemployment?

This is a million miles away from what I would normally talk about on my blog, however after Dimitris Papageorgiou (@lopbox on brought this to my attention I felt unable not to talk about it.

The story in question has received hardly any media coverage in Greece and next to none in other countries, yet this will probably shock the majority of readers. The news story that was brought to my attention is available here and here (translated from Greek).

It concerns me that people feel that they need to infect themselves with the HIV virus rather than risk going into an uncertain future. Granted I do not live in Greece and am not aware of exactly the situations of these people however I can't help but feel that this is an incredibly short sighted (and worrying) view of life. Are these user aware of the dangers HIV exposes them to or are they simply feeling betrayed by their country and honestly feel that there is no alternative.

The articles state that the users are infecting themselves, at huge risk to their health and (I assume) life expectancy for the sake of 700 Euros a month. To put that into some other figures: 964 US dollars, 617 British pounds. Whilst I can't speak for the US, I know that working full time on minimum wage will net more than £617 in Britain at the end of each month.

The recession and the financial climate in Greece has been in the media focus for some time now, however these stories are not filtering through to the rest of the world. I can't help but think that a citizen of a member country of the European Union should have more security in the present time and hope for the future.

Whilst nobody wants to be the focus of charity work, even this would be better than infecting oneself with HIV in order to get by. However here in Britain, I have not seen any charity work for nearby countries like Greece. We (the British public) seem very keen on shipping goods and aid to far off countries. I am not condemning this, it is a worthwhile venture. However we also need to focus on those who are struggling in our own country and our neighbours in Europe. I am also aware that we are in difficult financial times, however, is our situation really that bad that we would infect ourselves with a deadly virus for an extra £617/$964/700 a month?

For more information on the HIV virus visit the relevant NHS pages