Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011



Today is World AIDS Day.

This is a day for people to unite worldwide in the fight against AIDS and show support for those living and those who have died from AIDS.  Since AIDS was first reported some 30 years ago we have grown leaps and bounds with education and prevention but we still have a long way to go. 

If there is one thing you should know about this disease is it does not discriminate.  Although there are many people in a higher risk category based on their lifestyle, HIV/AIDS does not care if you are gay, straight, heterosexual, affluent, poor, African-American, Caucasian....

According to the CDC most recent reports, there are approximately 50,000 new cases each year.  1.2 million people in the US are living with the disease and 1 in 5 of those people don't even know they are infected.  34 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

This year the theme of World AIDS Day is Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.

As a high school senior we were required to do a "Senior Project".  I did my "Senior Project" on HIV/AIDS.  I had to write a lengthy paper on it, give a speech to a panel of judges and also had to volunteer for several months as part of this project.  I volunteered at a local HIV Day Center every Saturday for 3 months.  As a senior in high school, still a bit self absorbed, this experience opened my eyes.  As the weeks went by it gave me much more compassion and understanding for those infected by this disease.  Often times I would sit and visit with many of the clients listening to their life stories and experiences.  Many of them were just like you and me.  I know that might sound cliche but they were.  Regardless of the disease, their chosen lifestyle and circumstances, they were still human beings with feelings and didn't want to be "discriminated" against because of what they were infected with. Honestly, if I didn't know that they were infected with HIV, I would not know just sitting next to them.  With that being said, that in itself makes this disease all the more scary because as I stated earlier in my post many of those infected by the disease don't even know they are infected.

So what are you going to do to help AIDS Get to Zero? 

Get tested? Learn the facts? Spread awareness?


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