Today is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to remember those who have died of the disease and to celebrate accomplishments, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
Today, despite advances in HIV treatment and laws designed to protect those living with HIV; many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV or about the discrimination that remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is an important reminder to individuals and governments that HIV has not gone away... there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is Getting to Zero. After 30 years of the global fight against HIV/AIDS, this year the focus is on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.
Zero New HIV Infections It is estimated that 33.3 million people have HIV worldwide, with this number expected to continue to increase over time, as advances in treatments prolong the lives of those who are infected and more people become infected with HIV each year. The CDC estimates that one in five people living with HIV are unaware of their infection.
Zero Discrimination According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, "Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world."
Zero AIDS Related Deaths More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus worldwide, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. I've seen estimates that only a third to half of the people living with HIV are getting the needed treatment. More funding is needed for more treatment.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn the facts about HIV. By increasing the understanding of how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today, we can use this knowledge to take care of our own health and the health of others.
And yes this is a serious post an usually chatty and light blog, but hey it is a serious topic. I know people living with HIV, and knew people who have lost the fight. We all need to do more. I am making a donation to Canfar today... what can you do?
For more facts about HIV/AIDS in Canada go to www.canfar.com, for other countries use google to find your national organization.