As the holiday season approaches, most of us will preoccupy ourselves with shopping lists, vacations, and other festive preparations.
All these activities might be exciting, however; it is important to not forget issues facing the world.
"AIDS is a horrible disease, and the people who catch it deserve compassion." - Sam Kinison
Created as a way to raise public awareness, World AIDS Day brings fresh public attention to fighting the virus that infects 6,300 people daily, according to the UN HIV/AIDS 2013 Factsheet. Globally, about 34 million people are HIV-positive.
Demographically, 43 percent are black, 44 percent are Hispanic and 11 percent are white.
In 2014, 1,916 people died of HIV in Florida; 352 of them were Miami-Dade residents.
WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?
"Rumors of sneezing, kissing, tears, sweat, and saliva spreading AIDS casued people to panic." - Ryan White
AIDS itself is subject to incredible stigma. Therefore, the AIDS day specifically targets HIV-related stigma and discrimination that prevents people who are known to have HIV from securing a job or caring for their families.
Discrimination can cause isolation and marginalizes people who have HIV and AIDS and can prevent people from being offered or seeking treatment that could save their lives.
"The AIDS virus is not more powerful than God," - Marianne Williamson
One theme this year is ‘Right to health’ and 'Getting to Zero', which would mean zero new HIV infections
"Three million people died of HIV/AIDS in 2003, making this the most lethal year so far in the history of the epidemic."
The virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, thus gradually making infected individuals become immunodeficient.
WHAT LEADS TO A GREATER RISK OF HIV?
- Accidental needle stick injuries
- Sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
- Receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions, tissue transplantation, medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing
- Unprotected anal or vaginal sex.
BUT WHAT ABOUT AFTER WORLD AIDS DAY?
"Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS." - Nelson Mandela
We encourage everyone reading this letter to listen to voices outside the city limits – to research and learn about how HIV affects us globally.
After your searching, we will guarantee you two things: you will be shocked by the death toll, and most importantly, you will know it is within our reach to drastically make a difference.
"AIDS today does not mean a death sentence. Its can be treated as a chronic illness, or a chronic disease." - Yusuf Hamied
AROUND THE WORLD ON WORLD AIDS DAY?
- Apple store logos around the world are turning red. The transition from gray to a more crimson hue started Thursday in Australia and continues around the world through tomorrow.
- President Donald J. Trump Proclaims December 1, 2017, as World AIDS Day
- OraSure Technologies, Inc. a leader in point of care diagnostic
- Naomi Campbell and Marc Jacobs Design T-shirt for World AIDS Day
- RESTANCE Joins World AIDS Day Support With Former President
- Community AIDS Network (CAN) Celebrates World AIDS Day
- World AIDS Day: Coalition targets 5000 Lagosians for free HIV testing
- UTEP students hold World Aids Day event
- Sampson County AIDS Task Force observing World AIDS Day
- 4343 youths undergo HIV/AIDS test in Kaduna
- Mariah Carey Supports World AIDS Day
- Planned Parenthood offers free testing for World AIDS Day
WHAT SHOULD I DO ON WORLD AIDS DAY?
"I enyoy being a messenger for God in terms of letting people know about HIV and AIDS." - Magic Johnson
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. It's not only is it a day to spread public awareness, but it is a day to remember those who have it and are battling the vicious virus.
The challenges surrounding HIV and AIDS are getting more complex and mature, and we just can't stick our heads in the sand and say, it can't happen to me.
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