Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

World AIDS Day,December 1

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007,[1] and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007,[2] making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007,[3] of which about 270,000 were children.

Here are some of the thing you can do:
- The decision to get tested for HIV is the first step in taking responsibility for your health and the health of those you care about, regardless if you think you may be at risk of infection or not. One out of 250 people have HIV in the United States, with 25% of this population completely unaware of their infection.

- Protect yourself and your partners. People can have HIV for many years without experiencing any symptoms (i.e. feeling or looking sick). During this time, they can still pass the virus on to others without even knowing they have it.

- Learn all you can about HIV transmission and share that knowledge with those around you. Millions remain uneducated about the virus and simply do not know how HIV is transmitted. We must break through the barriers surrounding HIV transmission and talk about topics that may be difficult to discuss (i.e., unsafe sex and/or intravenous drug use). Whatever you can do to make people more aware of HIV — to make people give their time, their money, or their minds to the fight against HIV — will help make a difference. Websites that provide up-to-date and scientifically proven information can be found on our HIV/AIDS page, links.

- Support those agencies/groups that address the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV infection and promote greater acceptance of those living with HIV/AIDS.

- Donate to an HIV/AIDS charity. Raising money will help valuable HIV/AIDS work to continue, as well as raising awareness about HIV. Quite simply, helping HIV/AIDS charities saves people’s lives. Together we can work towards an AIDS-free world.

By respecting and protecting ourselves and others we can stop the spread of HIV and end HIV prejudice.

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