December 1 is World AIDS Day, and as someone who focuses on world travel, I feel that I have an obligation to raise as much awareness about the day and the mission behind it. Organizations such as Until.org and UNAIDS are devoted to raising awareness about AIDS and HIV and funding the scientific community’s effort to find a cure.
With realities like these:
UNAIDS statistics (as of July 2008), based on the reporting of 147 out of 192 UN member states, show that:
- Two million people died from AIDS in 2007 (5,500 people per day), and 72 percent of these deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Over 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and 67 percent of these infected people live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Annually, there are 70,000 new infections of children under age 15. Many of these children are or will become orphans. Without treatment, approximately half of the children with perinatal infection will die by the age of 2.
The Center for Disease Control statistics (as of 2007) show that:
- An estimated 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV in the United States, with approximately 53,600 new infections occurring each year.
- 73 percent of new infections were in men, and 27 percent were in women.
- By race, 45 percent of the new infections occurred among African Americans, and 17 percent in Hispanics. Whites accounted 35 percent of the new infections.
- 34 percent of new infections were in people younger than 30 years of age.
it is imperative that a cure be found. While the scientific community continues to make strides in the fight against AIDS and HIV, there is still a lot of work to be done. Finding a viable cure takes tens of millions of dollars annually, and more funding is still needed. Donating is easy. Until.org sells fashionable bracelets to encourage people to help fund AIDS research, or if you prefer to just donate money to the cause, you can do so with organizations such as JoinRed.com and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. If you’re a Starbucks fanatic like me, you can buy a Starbucks Red card online or in a Starbucks store. A portion of what you spend with the card goes to fund AIDS research.
If you can’t afford to donate money, you can raise awareness online, through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or signing up to become a Virtual Volunteer with Until.org.
UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS)