UPDATE NOVEMBER 24, 2013:
Stranger in the Mirror of My Life: Poems for Everyone Affected by HIV/AIDS is now out! To buy the book, simply click the linked title above, or go to the online bookstore! directly.
A Nigerian writer takes on HIV/AIDS with his work, Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems
HIV/AIDS is a global epidermic that needs all the attention it deserves. The prevalence of the scourge is alarming, especially in sub-Saharan Africa! In 2009, the 19 countries worldwide with the highest prevalence of reported infections, apart from India, are all African countries with more than 24.5 million, and over 66% (UNAIDS)of the Aids infected population.
South Africa ranks first on the prevalence list with over 5 million HIV+ population, followed by Nigeria with about 4 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS (JAIDS report). And we have all been affected in one way or the other!
Statistics from UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidermic show that Sub-saharan Africa has over 22 million people living with HIV, Middle Easta and North Afriaca have 380,000, South+South East Asia, 4.2 million, East Asia 740,000, Latin America, 1.7 million people. Others are Caribbean with 230,000 infections, Eastern Europe + Central Asia have 1.5 million, Western + Central Europe with 730,000, North America now with 1.2 million and Oceania, 74,000 infected people.
Across the continent and other parts of the world, HIV/AIDS has reached an alarming rate as ABC appears not to be working. HIV/AIDS is not what only happens to others as most people tend to think, but it can happen to anyone. This is why we must continue to spread the word, not the virus; give aids, not AIDS.
In commemoration of the World Aids Day, December 1, I wish to officially launch Ripples Across Lives: Poetry Against HIV/AIDS, an awareness and sensitisation project on HIV/AIDS.
Since December 1, 2005, the day I wrote ‘Ripples Across Ripples’, my very first poem on HIV/AIDS, I have been involved in an extensive research into the epidermic over the years. A year later, I’d written over 50 poems specially centred on the scourge, taking a penetrating look at the dangers, prevention and lastly, the discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). I had published about 10 of these poems on the Internet, and got quite interesting feedback from various parts of the world.
This propelled me to do more work on what would have ordinarilly been just another volume of poetry from me, after my collection, ‘Colourless Rainbow’, was to debut in 2010. After what seemed like a completed work, I approached a Lagos-based publisher who asked me to put my money where my heart was, but I had more of the heart than the money! The rest is history!
With the overpowering conviction that I have a message to communicate to the targeted readers (especially youths and PLWHA), I have since got myself involved in initiatives that bring me closer to the epidermic. I had to go behind the figures to see the faces, behind the pictures to feel the pain, behind the silence to hear the cries of the millions of orphans, children, teens, youths and adults who are infected with HIV/AIDS and the rest of us who have been affected in many ways than we could have ever imagined!
I have subscribed to the e-forum of Journalists Against Aids (JAIDS), the UNICEF Voices of Youth initiative, access resources and information from UNAIDS, Body Positive, World Aids Day site and many others. This is because HIV/AIDS is a dynamic issue with complex colourations, and I needed to constantly stay updated.
So what is the project all about? With I Have Found the Cure for HIV/AIDS initiative, I intend to write and publish a book containing about 50 poems on HIV/AIDS. This is meant to raise awareness and sensitise people about HIV/AIDS in a more engaging and sustainable way. Over the years, I have found out that the best way to fight HIV/AIDS is to keep talking about it. And poetry does have a highly appealing way of making our experiences and challenges, our love and hate, hope and despair, even more moving, more provoking and more lasting. The book which is tentatively titled, Stranger in the Mirror and Other Poems is to be divided into movements that will contain poems on the dangers and risks, myths and facts, prevention, and the conditions and experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Now expected to be completed for publishing on or before December 1, 2012, I would be needing to work closely with PLWHA groups and other stakeholders in this fight against HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS NGOs, agencies, corporate bodies are needed to make the book available to the targeted audience.
Quality book + global market. The publisher must have a global reach and have the capacity to make the proposed book available in print and e-book format.
Let your voice be heard by sending me a feedback on what you had like to see in the proposed book or relate to me any experience on HIV/AIDS that you strongly feel others can learn from.
It is all about capturing your voice in a book that is going to be ending up in the hands of millions of people out there who need to hear your voice to keep fighting, to keep hoping and to live a healthy life – a future free from HIV/AIDS. Send your feedback to my e-mail address:
or simply post your message(s) in the box(es) below. Thank you for your interest in the proposed book!