HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) are simply conditions that affect the immune system in an individual, which greatly increases the risks of infections of common cold, influenza, tuberculosis, tumors etc.
When the immune system is working, fights are waged on an ongoing basis within the body to limit the risks of infections or greatly dilute their impact when they do develop. HIV/AIDS had become known as a public-health risk as early as the late 1970s. However, there was little general knowledge, at the time, worldwide (most definitely here in The Bahamas) of the malady.
The truth be told, it took the high-profile case of the glamorous movie star Rock Hudson to imbue the West part of the globe, in particular, with the recognition that the world was faced with a grave problem that conjured up memory of the Black Plague, that 14th century (1346-1353) phenomenon that killed an estimated 200 million people (depending on the research area) in Asia and Europe.
When Hudson came out with the acknowledgement of his tremendous weight loss and the cause (AIDS diagnosis), around July of 1985, his body was already riddled with the disease and by September of that year, he was dead.
Scientists, and medical practitioners around the world, certainly those in the West, with renewed energy, then applied their focus, intensively to HIV/AIDS.
That same year, Kevin Delancy, who now heads the Grand Bahama HIV/AIDS Survivors Benefit (HASB) Committee, was diagnosed with AIDS.
Yes indeed, he survives, 33 years later!
Delancy did not allow the AIDS to drown him. He steeled his resolve, became dedicated to fighting the disease, and then simultaneously, began an outreach program to help others.
On Saturday night, his tenacious, civic-minded spirit, and determined nature culminated in the third HASB Honours reception. The event took place at the Canal House in the Pelican Bay Resort and to date it was the greatest awareness platform since HASB was established five years ago.
It was a monumental occasion that brought together a wide cross-section of Grand Bahama residents, and visiting guests of Delancy and his HASB associates, for a profound interaction about HIV/AIDS.
The moment in time was special and Delancy is to be congratulated for his perseverance and humanitarianism.
Several months ago, the Government of The Bahamas trotted out, officially for the first time, the National Heroes designations. Interestingly enough, just two Grand Bahamians (Maurice Moore and Rev. Dr. Emmette Weir) made the inaugural list.
The focus of the government was on politicians directly, or for the most part, those connected to the political arena.
For the future, we challenge the government of the day, to think outside of politics, and look at other great contributors to nation building, such as one Kevin Delancy.