Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World AIDS Day

Yesterday, December 1, was official World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to recognizing and raising awareness of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic.

From http://www.avert.org/world-aids-day.htmww.avert.org/world-aids-day.htm

"Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2009 is 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.1

A vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world."

Advocates for Choice hosted and cosponsored World AIDS Day at NIU with the assistance of PRISM, Health Enhancement, and the Women’s Rights Alliance. Together, the groups took part in condom distribution in MLK Commons and screening “Philadelphia,” a film about AIDS discrimination, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Though the looming presence of finals and end-of-the-semester jitters affected the number of individuals that participated, those who did take part were passionately dedicated to informing and educating the campus about World AIDS Day and the need to stay healthy, happy, and educated. Many thanks to all the cosponsors and NIU staff, faculty, and staff that contributed to World AIDS Day!

Recognition, of course, is only the first step in taking counteractive measures to decrease occurrences of HIV/AIDS worldwide; it must be combined with conscientious educational endeavors. Avert.org provides many great resources for understanding the basic of HIV/AIDS and even has a nifty quiz to test your knowledge.

Here is a list of common misconceptions about HIV/AIDS:
1.) Women can't give men HIV.
2.) Since I am HIV-positive, if I get pregnant, I will spread the disease to my unborn baby.
3.) He doesn't "look" like someone with HIV.
4.) HIV is the same as AIDS.
5.) Both my partner and I have HIV. We don't need to use a condom.
6.) The government produced AIDS to reduce certain groups of people.
7.) Knowing who is on the "down low" will save me from getting HIV.
8.) I cannot get HIV from tattoos or body piercing.
9.) I have HIV. It is best for me to start drug therapy when I get sick.
10.) HIV can be cured.

This site provides answers to such misunderstandings and myths about HIV/AIDS.

Conduct your own research using the sources above as a starting point, keeping in mind the detrimental impacts of AIDS stigma and misinformation.

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