Today is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day; started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education.
Despite major advances in treating the virus, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still here. According to CNN, over 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide. More than 1 million in the United States, with about 56,000 infected yearly.
There is still much to be done.
As someone recently pointed out to me, in spite of the excitement over President – elect Obama we still live in a time with HIV/AIDS policies set by the administrations of Reagan and Papa Bush — reactionary policies where fear, prejudice and politics rather than public heath dominated. Need examples? There is still a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs, government continues to fund abstinence-only education,lack of affordable health care still prevents people from getting the medication and health care they need, and to the best of my knowledge there is no coordinated AIDS strategy for the US … I could go on.
Point is, HIV is a serious long-term condition and people living with HIV often face discrimination. Whatever your HIV status, there is a role you can play in ending HIV prejudice and stopping the spread of HIV.
So let today be a reminder to get involved.