December 1, 2008

Happy World AIDS Day!

Thanks for joining me for another day in my life. Today is World AIDS Day which is when we remember those who have died due to complications with AIDS and celebrate those who are still living with HIV and AIDS.

As one of the first Americans infected with HIV, World AIDS Day bring a flood of emotions from sadness to joy. I cry every year when I see the AIDS quilt panels of my husband and god child not to mention the many friends who have died over the year. But I also feel joy as I see all those from my community who are still living with HIV and AIDS due to the life saving HIV medications which have been available since 1996.

World AIDS Day, is the day when individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programs for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.While we have come a long ways since 1988, there is still much more to be done.

World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people world wide, with an estimated 33.2 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005, of which more than half a million (570,000) were children.

From its inception until 2004, UNAIDS spearheaded the World AIDS Day campaign, choosing annual themes in consultation with other global health organizations. In 2005 this responsibility was turned over to World AIDS Campaign (WAC), who chose Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise as the main theme for World AIDS Day observances through 2010, with more specific subtaglines chosen annually. This theme is not specific to World AIDS Day, but is used year round in WAC's efforts to highlight HIV/AIDS awareness within the context of other major global events including the G8 Summit. World AIDS Campaign also conducts in country campaigns throughout the world, like the Student Stop AIDS Campaign, an infection awareness campaign targeting young people throughout the UK.

A large red ribbon hangs between columns in the north portico of the White House for World AIDS Day, November 30, 2007.

It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995 the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.

So join me today in remembering those in your life who died from complications of AIDS and those living with HIV and AIDS.

Wishing you a Happy World AIDS Day!

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab