December has historically been a month comprised of revolutionary events. On December 9, 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was opened for signature. On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In December 1995, the FDA approved the first protease inhibitor, one of the now many classes of therapies available for the treatment of HIV infection. December 1 is now designated as World AIDS Day.

On Monday, December 8, 2008, Physicians for Human Rights and Harvard Medical School will be hosting a town hall meeting titled HIV/AIDS and the Right to Health: Leadership in the US and Globally commemorating World AIDS Day and the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. RSVP by midnight and be prepared to arrive super early if you want a seat.

From December 13-15, 2008 United Sikhs will be hosting Global Sikh Civil Rights Conference during which a Global Civil Rights Report will be released, cases will be presented to the United Nations and sangat, and a panel discussion will be held at the United Nations Church Center. E-mail law@unitedsikhs.org to RSVP or visit unitedsikhs.org for more information.

Because of revolutionary thinkers and activists, HIV is no longer a lethal disease but a chronic manageable condition that is now screened for in the same way we screen for high cholesterol and reported (in most states) in the same manner we notify patients about other blood work and studies. Because of raised voices and collective seva, Sikhs are making headway in defending their right to dignity, life and safety, and practice Sikhi. December 2008 marks only the beginning of change to come. Do your part in educating yourself about the issues and diseases afflicting our panth, erasing intolerance and helping to enact interventions through more than just surveillance research. Let us open our eyes and acknowledge past and present human rights violations in Punjab and throughout the world*. Let us reevaluate our own stigmas and acknowledge that HIV/AIDS affects Sikhs of all sexual orientations, backgrounds and ages. Let us raise our fists together and stay committed to change for months and years to come.

*including Zimbabwe, Turkey, Congo, Russia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Thailand, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Kazakhstan, and the United States (Human Rights Watch Weekly Digest, Nov 28-Dec 3)

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