Today is the 26th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide between 1981 and 2007. Nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. and one in five of those are unaware of their infections. Knowing is everything, make an HIV test part of your routine physical.
It is not a gay disease, it is not an African disease, it is not a junkie disease, it is not a disease that is given to people who behave badly or have unacceptable lifestyles, and it is not God’s punishment. It does not discriminate, it just kills. Some of the most influential people in my life are HIV positive, or I should say most of the most influential people in my life are HIV positive.
I have been donating my time, money, and my gently-used items to Lifelong AIDS Alliance in Seattle for years. Lifelong Aids Alliance does great work for people living with HIV and other chronic illnesses. There are similar services in every community across the world, find one near you and see what type of donations (canned goods, clothing, time, money) they take and give to them the next time.
- Here is a link to their donation page: http://llaa.org/donatenow $54 – Provides one week of fresh meals and groceries for a person living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses.
- Visit the Digital AIDS Quilt and create your own panel: http://www.2015quilt.com/ While you are there, make a pledge to do what you can to help.
- Buy something from or donate directly to (RED): http://www.joinred.com
- Tweet/share/re-blog all or any part of this post, increase awareness and involvement with your friends.
I am who I am today because of the amazingly talented, fiercely devoted, and ridiculously hilarious guys that have influenced me to be creatively fearless, to love unapologetically, and to be true to what is important to me. Every birthday candle I blow out, every coin I throw into a fountain, every time I am required to make a wish, I wish for their health and a cure to be found.
I, along with the world, miss Anthony Perkins, Pedro Zamora, Freddie Mercury, Alvin Ailey, Rudolf Nureyev, Halston, Keith Haring, Herb Ritts, Isaac Asimov, Randy Shilts, Dorian Corey, Leigh Bowery, Robert Mapplethorpe, and many more.
The Global HIV/AIDS Crisis Today
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has become one of the world’s most serious health and development challenges:
- 33.4 million are currently living with HIV/AIDS.
- More than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.
- In 2008, 2 million people died due to HIV/AIDS, and another 2.7 million were newly infected.
- While cases have been reported in all regions of the world, almost all those living with HIV (97%) reside in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure.
- The HIV epidemic not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.
- Despite these challenges, there have been successes and promising signs. New global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic, particularly in the last decade. Prevention has helped to reduce HIV prevalence rates in a small but growing number of countries and new HIV infections are believed to be on the decline. In addition, the number of people with HIV receiving treatment in resource poor countries has increased 10-fold since 2002, reaching an estimated 4 million by 2008.