World AIDS Day December 1, 2007
The good news is - not as many people have AIDS as was previously estimated - UNAIDS reports a decline of 16%, with 33.2 million people infected worldwide. New HIV infections and mortality are declining.
The good news is - AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was. Advances in treatment now turn the disease into a chronic illness. Basketball star Magic Johnson was first diagnosed with HIV 15 years ago. Today he dedicates his life and talents to preventing and treating HIV/AIDS in the black community. Blacks make up 13% of the US population, but 50% of new HIV cases in 2004. AIDS was the leading cause of death in black women (aged 25-34) in the US in 2002.
The goals now are to halt the spread of the disease and to provide universal access to treatment. Despite the US promise of more funding to battle AIDS, protesters decried the Bush administrations abstinence-only sex education restrictions for domestic and international programs. Demonstrators also called attention to Washington DC's problem of escalating AIDS cases. The infection rate is inordinately high in this city compared to the rest of the US, the black population is the hardest hit, and children and women are among the newly diagnosed. The number of new cases is rising in Eastern Europe and France as well.
Countries in southern Africa are now the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, and Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu called for renewed efforts toward fighting the disease at a concert in South Africa. In the US, AIDS is the leading cause of death among blacks age 24-44.
Treat every day as World AIDS Day - protect yourself, educate loved ones, and fight for universal access to antiretroviral medications and an end to poverty.
Thank you Akaogatak for use of World AIDS Day photo...
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