November 3, 2008

November 3, 2008
A Wake Up Call to Philadelphia

Welcome to another entry in a day of my life. I hope you are having a safe and great weekend.

Remember tomorrow is ELECTION DAY! Remember to vote and use your voice if you have not already voted. Today I was at an Obama rally in Jacksonville, Florida with my work at AARP and Divided We Fail.

Unfortunately, Senator Obama had just found out his grandmother had died. But Obama was urging the crowd to bring out the vote tomorrow!

As many of you know I work year round in helping prevent new HIV infections while helping those already infected.

Well I have some more bad news. The rate of new HIV infections in Philadelphia is 50 percent higher than that of New York City and five times the national average, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The new numbers are based on the same 2006 data released in August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimated the number of United States HIV infections was 40 percent higher than previously believed.

According to the new data, more than half of Philadelphia’s 1,400 annual HIV infections are linked to heterosexual contact, a third to men who have sex with men (MSM) and 13 percent to intravenous drug use.

Now I find that to be horrible news but there is some good news about the fact that people with HIV are living longer.

The number of HIV positive people living in the United States increased 11 percent from 2003 to 2006, which experts attribute to life prolonging antiretroviral therapy.

According to a study published in the October 3 edition of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the HIV positive population rose from an estimated 994,000 in 2003 to 1.1 million in 2006. A separate study published in The Lancet in July found that combination therapy, introduced in 1996, extended the life expectancy of newly infected 20 year olds by 13 years. They are now expected to live, on average, to age 69 (HIV negative people in the industrialized world generally live to be 80).

So while there is the bad, luckily with the right habits and precautions; people with HIV can hope to live a full life. For some of you this may not seem like a big deal. But you have to remember how many friends I lost before the new life saving medications became available in 1996.

So what did you do this weekend? I hope you took the time to do something special for yourself and/or make a special memory. Just remember that life is not a dress rehearsal. So get out there and live yours.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab