Sunday, December 01, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013

Today is the 25th annual observance of World AIDS Day.   It started back in 1988 as the first ever global health day that serves several purposes.   It organizes people to help fight and do education about HIV/AIDS, allows us show support for those persons living with HIV and acts as a memorial day for the 25 million people around the world who have succumbed to it between 1981 and 1997.

333 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with HIV. 

I have two cousins who are part of the 25 million people worldwide who have succumbed to AIDS.  I've had at least 10 classmates from elementary through high school that are sadly among that group of people we have lost to AIDS that I think about on this day.

Also in that group are transfeminine people, as the untimely death of activist Alexis Rivera last year pointed out.  A depressingly long list of transgender needs assessments going back to 2000 also revealed alarming HIV infection rates in Washington DC and several other cities of up to 20% of the respondents taking them. 

I'm also aware of trans women who are living with HIV and are surviving, thriving in their personal and professional lives and contributing their talents toward making our society better along with other people who are HIV+..

But just as I had a front row seat in 1981 for the dawn of the age of HIV/AIDS, I'd like to see a cure expeditiously happen for it as well.  

The theme of this year's 25th anniversary observance of World AIDS Day is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.  There will be a candlelight observance ceremony starting at 5:30 PM at Tranquility Park in downtown Houston, which will be one of the many World AIDS Day themed events world wide.

The goal is to get new HIV/AIDS infection rates and deaths down to ZERO..  It's a lofty goal that has a multipronged approach to it in terms of educating people about the disease, promoting safe sexual practices and urging people to get tested.

But the sooner it happens around the world, the better.

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