World AIDS Day emphasizes need to educate

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By Trinay Blake
Observer Staff
Nov. 29, 2007

HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic, which crosses the boundaries of race and culture. The 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic states that an estimated 38.6 million [33.4 million–46.0 million] people worldwide were living with HIV in 2005. An estimated 4.1 million [3.4 million–6.2 million] became newly infected with HIV and an estimated 2.8 million [2.4 million–3.3 million] succumbed to AIDS.

Video courtesy of the World AIDS Campaign.World AIDS Campaign continues to help national and local programs raise awareness about the devastating disease.Leadership is the campaign theme for 2007 and 2008.
The World AIDS Campaign states that a positive response to HIV/AIDS is achieved when there is strong and committed leadership in place.National and local organizations can build on this theme to offer programs that help the community forge a strong bond to combat the disease. Senior Public Health Analyst David Wilson of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention says, “… as public servants, it is our job to be aware about all of the facts, so that we can shepherd that information onto the organizations, communities, and people that we serve.”Resources are available for download on the World AIDS Campaign website.HIV/AIDS is a global issue; however, reports for the United States alone are staggering.

The Center for Disease Control reported that in 2005 an estimated 433,760 number of people are living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District. In this same report, the CDC estimates that 17,011 people died from AIDS. Advances in treatment, education and awareness have helped decrease the spread of the disease and allow people to live a longer, fuller life with the disease.

“The CDC website has one of the most comprehensive websites for information about World Aids Day and HIV/AIDS prevention in the country,” David Wilson said. “They have tools, and resources that are specific to every state, community, and town.”

HIV/AIDS epidemic at-a-glanceWorld AIDS Day at CDCCDC HIV/AIDS on the webCDC Statistics

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration employees in Rockville, Md., will take part in a two-hour ceremony to learn about HIV/AIDS awareness. David Wilson said, “The agency also funds over 300 organizations across the county who focus on HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention. Each of these agencies are required to have a WAD observance activity in their community.”

Several organizations in the District are marking the day with free HIV testing clinics, a photography exhibit, and ministry events. Access the complete list of events here.

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