Every year on December 1, the world comes together to pause and commemorate World AIDS Day. It’s a day when we can remember all of those both infected and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as take action to help make a difference.
Twenty years ago, an HIV positive diagnosis was the equivalent of a death sentence. More recently however, the disease has become manageable thanks to improved antiretroviral treatments and an understanding of how the disease is spread. But with treatment options often out of reach and pervasive inequalities that make prevention challenging, the pandemic continues.
In 2008, 33.4 million people around the world were living with HIV and AIDS and about 7,400 people a day were newly infected. And new reports show the pandemic growing. (See a recent Care2 blog about HIV in China.)
And sadly, HIV and AIDS disproportionally affects women. In sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 60 percent of those living with HIV. They are also often the ones responsible for the burden of care for ill or orphaned loved ones.
Hope this World AIDS Day
But this World AIDS Day there is hope. From inspiring stories like Mondo Guerra’s HIV revelation on Project Runway, a recent People article on adopting HIV-positive children, or an interview I did with an HIV-positive youth in Kenya to innovative social campaigns like Join RED where millions will help turn Twitter, Facebook and cities across the world RED today, change is happening.
What you can do
Those living with HIV have a brighter future thanks to everyone who is taking action today. In 2004, Nelson Mandela said, ”We have to act, we have act decisively and above all, we must work together. The answer to turning around the devastating impact of this epidemic lies within us.” In 2010, we can do more. If we all raise our voices, invest in research and support projects, we can move from commemoration to celebration as World AIDS Day becomes an anniversary of another year without the disease.
Sign the Care2 Petition
Take Action Now! Sign the Care2 petition to Commemorate World Aids Day, December 1.
Pathfinder International: An HIV-positive youth and her mother in Mozambique.