Today is World AIDS Day. Here in Our Town, several organizations use this date as fund raisers such as Mama’s Kitchen. I see that UCSD has several panels from the AIDS quilt on display. There are more available at no cost, but obviously no one told them this.
Mary Holman writes in the San Francisco Examiner,
“World Aids Day is today. Just over 25 years ago, San Francisco was in the throes of understanding the scourge known as Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The outbreak in SF that started in 1983 was one of the epicenters of a cultural bombshell that turned lives upside down from London to Hong Kong, and later around the world.
It is a virus which attacks the body's immune system — the body's defense against diseases. HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.”
Blumenthal and Shive write in the Huffington Post, ‘Now more than ever, this year's World AIDS Day marks unprecedented progress toward ending HIV/AIDS and providing proof that investments in research, treatment, and prevention are yielding lifesaving dividends.”
And they tell us this encouraging news. “Here's why: As a result of global initiatives and programs, AIDS-related deaths have dropped by more than 25 percent between 2005 and 2011 worldwide. There are now 700,000 fewer new HIV infections in the world annually than there were a decade ago. In 25 low- and middle-income countries (most located in southern Africa), rates of HIV infection have dropped by 50 percent or more since 2001. In sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS-related deaths have decreased by one-third in the past six years and the number of people on HIV medication has increased by 59 percent in the last two years alone. Recent studies have demonstrated that treatment of HIV/AIDS with antiretroviral (ARV) medication reduces transmission rates by 96 percent, underscoring that treatment is also prevention.”
I’ve lost too many friends to AIDS.
Put the words World AIDS Day in your search engine, and read all the stories. Think further that someday there will also be these same improved statistics for cancer and heart disease. Then pause a moment to remember all those we have lost. Thank you.