National World AIDS Day
By Jocelyn Jones
National World AIDS Day, which is observed every year on Dec. 1, is a time for national AIDS programs, government agencies, faith-based organizations, community groups and individuals to focus attention on this worldwide epidemic. The annual observance was established in 1988 by the World Health Organization.
In 2007, the estimated number of people living with HIV worldwide was 33.2 million and 2.7 of them were newly infected. Everyone needs to get tested, practice safe sex methods to prevent transmission or contracting HIV and avoid high-risk behaviors.
Consider the following worldwide statistics:
- Worldwide over 22 million people have died from AIDS and over 42 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.
- Over 19 million women are living with HIV/AIDS.
- There are 14,000 new infections everyday.
- There are new infections occurring every year among the ages of 15-24.
- The United Nations estimates that currently there are at least 14 million AIDS orphans and that there will be 25 million by the year 2010.
And in the United States, the rates of infections are just as bleak:
- There are an estimated 40,000 new infections each year regardless of age in the United States one million people are currently living with HIV.
- Of the new infections, 70 percent occur in men and 30 percent occur in women.
- Half of all new infections in the United States occur in people 25 years or younger
- Of the new infections, 54 percent occur in African Americans and 64 percent occur in African-American women.
- 74 percent of new infections in women are heterosexually transmitted.
Both celebrities and ordinary people in the United States have begun to wear the "Until" bracelet. The "Until There's A Cure" initiative is dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat the pandemic. The bracelet is an elegant symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS, and those who wear it hope to increase awareness, compassion, understanding and responsibility.
HIV/AIDS is developing rapidly. In order to fight the disease is to stop it from occurring in the first place and that is by practicing safe sex and always using protection. The best protection is abstinence.
World AIDS Day is about raising money, fighting prejudice and increasing awareness as well as improving education. It is a constant reminder that HIV has not gone away.
Right now there is no cure and we may never find one. Millions of people are getting infected annually worldwide, and with the disease spreading rapidly there is a chance that it will be too late for the cure.
I advise everyone to protect themselves because this is not a joke. Protect yourself each time you are sexually active. Not everyone can be trusted: You cannot look at a person and tell whether they have HIV/AIDS. The world is a scary place, but you should not be afraid of it. Live your life, but do it for yourself and your health, always protect yourself and wear condoms because one night of passion could cause you a lifetime of pain.