Now, with December dubbed AIDS Awareness Day, all the kids, the teachers and many of their parents in our town’s schools wear red ribbons. As Frank Oldham Jr., president and chief executive officer of the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), says,
A lot has changed over the last 30 years; HIV can now be a virus we live with, not one we have to die with. But that isnít enough. We need to significantly expand education and access to affordable care in our communities so that all Americans have the tools necessary to make well-informed choices that can help prevent the transmission of HIV, including getting tested regularly and knowing their HIV status.
There is plenty of awareness about AIDS and HIV. But how much understanding? Do the kids know that people in their community; that a classmate, could be HIV-positive? Or how important it is to get tested and why there should be no stigma for doing so?
NHAM seeks to rally the general public as well as the private sector, federal agencies and community organizations, to “reach the broad swath of Americans who remain untouched by current HIV education effort.” Significantly, the International AIDS Conference will take place in the US for the first time in more than 20 years this month. In addition, July 2012 is the second anniversary of the release of the United Statesí first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy by President Barack Obama.
Phill Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the Black AIDS Institute, emphasizes that “HIV is almost entirely preventable and we have a moral obligation to stop it in our communities.”
In memory of Mike and of so many others, please spread the word about †National HIV Awareness Month, to help address the HIV/AIDS crisis in the US and, ultimately, to work to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US and everywhere.
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Image courtesy of http://www.nationalhivawarenessmonth.org
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