Today is World AIDS Day.
Those of us who are not living with the disease tend to either shrug or give the day a passing thought ………. and go on with our lives. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, put HIV/AIDS into perspective when he said recently:
“Whatever our role in life, wherever we may live, in some way or another, we all live with HIV. We are all affected by it. We all need to take responsibility for the response.”
Like most people in North America who were not directly affected by this horrible disease I scarcely gave it a thought – until a good friend died before he had a chance to live a full life. He was a young man in the prime of his life, under thirty when he contracted the HIV virus. Uunfortunately in the early to mid ’90’s, even in a city like Toronto which is progressive, accepting, and open about gays and the gblt lifestyle, he was either unaware of where to seek help, or he did not recognize the symptoms and did not seek treatment for the disease until it was too late. Phil died over 12 years ago. Luckily he had a supportive family and friends who cared about him so he did not die alone. Others are not as lucky. This was a wake-up call to me that AIDS was not just a disease that affects people who live in sub Sahara Africa – it affects all of us. It’s a global epidemic. Here are some frightening statistics:
According to recent information, more than twenty-five million people around the world have died of AIDS-related diseases. In 2009, 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV, and 1.8 million
men, women and children lost their lives. 33.3 million people around the world are now living with HIV.
Every 12 seconds someone, somewhere is infected with the HIVvirus and 25% of new infections in Canada are young adults.
Contrary to popular belief HIV/AIDS is not a “gay” disease. The latest data on disease infection rates indicates that the highest incidence of new infection in North America is among young women under 25. Seniors are not far behind. Every adult is responsible for his or her own health and if you have children it is your job to teach them about how to protect themselves from all STD’s.
Started on December 1, 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education about HIV/AIDS
Becoming aware is the first step in understanding the disease and perhaps helping an individual with HIV/AIDS, or an organization dedicated to improving education about this disease to slow its spread.
Here is one of the many videos about how you can help. Will you?