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Equatorial Guinea Holds the Oar for World AIDS Day

The Spirit of Malabo

As the Republic of Equatorial Guinea successfully convened the World Conference of Mayors this week in Malabo and has developed into a meeting place for Africans and African-Americans, their diverse constituencies are drawn by a single impediment to growth.

“HIV/AIDS is continually having an effect on development in both continents. Often, Mayors are the first responders in finding services for the HIV positive population and to keep people HIV negative”, Victor Mooney said. Mr. Mooney is executive director of US based South African Arts International and long-time rower.

The New Yorker is hoping Equatorial Guinea will donate the remaining cost for his journey across the Atlantic Ocean to fight the disease. The rower has received an outpouring of in-kind support, but needs a boat for the mission. The boat is equipped with satellite communications, water desalinator and freezed-dried food to keep him powered.

Mr. Mooney’s vessel is in Sao Paulo, Brazil awaiting ocean transport to the Canary Islands. Maersk Line, the global containerized division of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group and the world’s largest ocean carrier has also pledged support, according to Mr. Mooney.

At least 30,000 to 60,000 people are infected with the virus of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Equatorial Guinea, as acknowledged by the Government of the Central African country, according to recent wire reports.

In 2010 there were an estimated 22.9 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has increased since 2009, when an estimated 22.5 million people were living with HIV, including 2.3 million children.

African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States (US). Despite representing only 14% of the US population in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections in that year. Compared with members of other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease—from new infections to deaths.

As the World Conference on Mayors ended, H.E. President Obiang stressed the importance of strategic rapprochement between the African and African-American societies.

For more information, visit goreechallenge.com. The general public can make an online donation at active.com/donate/spiritofmalabo.

Photo Handout: Victor Mooney rowing.

More Stories By Lisa Samuels

Lisa Samuels is a public relations officer at the MWG, which is based in New York City.

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