Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1st

AIDS was first identified in the United States of America in 1981. Since then, the epidemic has been steadily growing and by the end of 2004, there were estimated to be just over 1 million people living with HIV and approximately 415,000 people living with AIDS in the USA. AIDS is also thought to have killed over half a million Americans - nearly ten times the number killed in the Vietnam war - and more become infected every day.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 39.5 million people living with HIV around the world, including 2.3 million children, and during 2006 some 4.3 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.

Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. This is a cause I have supported since I was old enought to truly understand it, and one that with the loss of a dear friend, has become very close to my heart.

Our greatest tool in this fight is undertstanding and education. Today I ask you to inform yourself. Help inform others. Let's take the stigma and misunderstanding away from this horrible disease and start truly fighting it.

Wear a red ribbon today, let people know why. As I state all the time here, soemtimes the smallest act makes the biggest difference.

The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.

The red ribbon started as a "grass roots" effort, and as a result there is no one official red ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It's easily done - just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!

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