Today is World AIDS Day.
Why should you care?
Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control, at the end of 2003, an estimated 1,039,000 to 1,185,000 persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS, with 24%-27% undiagnosed and unaware of their HIV infection. The CDC estimated that approximately 56,300 people were newly infected with HIV in 2006 (the most recent year that data are available).
This means one of your partners could have HIV/AIDS and not know it, putting you at risk.
And the US population with HIV/AIDS is minuscule compared to the rest of the world. More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981. Africa has 11.6 million AIDS orphans. And at the end of 2007, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.*
What can you do about it?
1. Be safe. Have safe sex (read: condoms, folks), and if you're frequently using needles, make sure they're clean.
2. Donate money to the Boston Living Center, the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, or the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
3. Volunteer locally in Boston at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts or at the Boston Living Center. Volunteering internationally is always an option too!
4. Attend one of the Boston area World AIDS Day events, including a memorial service at the Boston Living Center; a talk at the MIT Museum entitled "AIDS: When will it end?"; or a chamber concert benefiting the AIDS Action Committee.
Either way, it's time to take action.
Related Posts: World AIDS Day 2007; 2009 Calendar Benefiting Indian Women; What to ask before you commit to volunteering; International Volunteering; Earthquake in China Volunteer Opportunities
*Stats taken from http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm.
Images courtesy of WorldAidsCampaign.org.