World AIDS Day 2006: Take Action, AIDS is Not Over
Almost two months after World AIDS Day, the rallies are over and the media’s attention has moved on. Yet the forecast remains the same. Globally, an estimated 11,000 new HIV infections occur daily. Just 56 days after the World AIDS Day awareness events/activities on December 1st; more than a half million men, women, and children have become infected with HIV.
Over the years, millions upon millions of dollars have been spent talking about HIV. While the world talked in 2006, another 3 million people died from AIDS. Another 4.3 million contracted HIV, bringing the global total to 39.5 million.
Great work was done in 2006 to promote awareness in our community; however, it is important to remember that the fight to stop and begin to reverse the spread of this pandemic does not end after World AIDS Day. We must continue to join together in our commitment to fight HIV infection and AIDS by providing opportunities to educate; promote awareness; and create community dialogue about prevention, care and treatment.
Here are some of the things you can do:
- The decision to get tested for HIV is the first step in taking responsibility for your health and the health of those you care about, regardless if you think you may be at risk of infection or not. One out of 250 people have HIV in the United States, with 25% of this population completely unaware of their infection.
- Protect yourself and your partners. People can have HIV for many years without experiencing any symptoms (i.e. feeling or looking sick). During this time, they can still pass the virus on to others without even knowing they have it.
- Learn all you can about HIV transmission and share that knowledge with those around you. Millions remain uneducated about the virus and simply do not know how HIV is transmitted. We must break through the barriers surrounding HIV transmission and talk about topics that may be difficult to discuss (i.e., unsafe sex and/or intravenous drug use). Whatever you can do to make people more aware of HIV — to make people give their time, their money, or their minds to the fight against HIV — will help make a difference. Websites that provide up-to-date and scientifically proven information can be found on our HIV/AIDS page, links.
- Support those agencies/groups that address the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV infection and promote greater acceptance of those living with HIV/AIDS.
- Donate to an HIV/AIDS charity. Raising money will help valuable HIV/AIDS work to continue, as well as raising awareness about HIV. Quite simply, helping HIV/AIDS charities saves people’s lives.
Together we can work towards an AIDS-free world.
Lori Hungerford, Butte County World AIDS Day Planning Committee Coordinator (Statistics provided by Centers for Disease, Control, and Prevention (CDC), UNAIDS, and AVERT)
World AIDS Day 2006 Planning Committee
From left to right (back row) Kiyomi Bird, James Gamez, Erik Rueben, Sandora Nishio, Sherry Bloker, Annette Spanutius
From left to right(front row) Lori Hungerford, Lorna Andreatta, Pam Bodnar, & Bernice Baptiste.
Committee Members not pictured: Amber Ostrander, John Hughes, Barbara Hanna, Chuck Voss.
Click here for pictures from World AIDS Day 2006 events in Butte County(pdf)