Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010


Every year December 1st is observed as World AIDS Day (the first of which was observed in 1988). World AIDS Day is devoted to raising awareness of the AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and chooses to do so by choosing annual themes

This year’s theme, Lights for Rights, is encouraging cities and towns all over the world to leave the lights on and breakdown some of the needless stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS. The World AIDS Day campaign is encouraging people to go out and get involved in promoting awareness.


What is HIV/AIDS?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV spreads by way of bodily fluids and it can be contracted by sexual intercourse without using a condom with someone living with HIV, sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment or from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that affects the human immune system which is caused by HIV.

Statistics

According to the CDC, an estimated 56,300 Americans are newly infected with HIV each year. And according to the The World Factbook, 33,000,000 were predicted to be living with HIV/AIDS in the year 2007.

A recent report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has brought news that fewer people are becoming infected with HIV than 10 years ago, and those who have already acquired the virus are living longer. But every day 7,397 people contract HIV at a rate of 308 people every hour.

In the year 2008, 2.0 million people died from AIDS. And since it was first recognized in 1981, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Prevention

Because HIV can be transmitted by having sex, through someone’s blood, or from a mother to child, the best ways to reduce your risk is abstain from sex and wearing condoms consistently and correctly.

Other ways of preventing transmission is to use shared needles and to take antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy and labor as well as administering the medication to the newborn baby to reduce the chances of the child becoming infected.

Remember for you and your partner to get tested for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases to further stop the spread. It is one of the major ways to reduce the increase in cases of those with HIV.

And though, abstinence greatly reduces your chances of becoming infected with HIV, educating the public about safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases can help more people in the long run. Having the information to protect yourself and others from harm is very important.

HIV is preventable when caution is used. ONE, a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization, is already advocating for a world where no child is born with HIV in 2015. Hopefully this and other campaigns can rid the world of new cases of people contracting HIV. And I also pray that one day we will have a cure for those who already have the virus.

Reposted via Surf Bakersfield Mag.

Madonna narrates the video, "I Am Because We Are."

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