World AIDS Day – spread the word, not the virus!

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Originating from a country (South Africa) that is not only pretty rife with HIV and AIDS, but also rife with misconceptions about the virus, how it’s contracted how it can be treated – HIV/AIDS is something many of us have grown up thinking about and seeing the effects of on a daily basis. It’s very uncommon that someone in SA does not know at least one person who has been affected by AIDS in some way or another…

I myself have seen many of the people who have worked for my parents, suffer and die from AIDS related illnesses. The last time I saw our gardener, Surprise, was the day of my wedding just over two years ago when he came to my parents house so that he could see me in my wedding dress, and waited patiently for most of the day, until the chaos and flurry died down and until I was almost ready to leave for the church, so that he could congratulate me… I returned to the UK soon after our wedding and a few weeks later my mom called to say that Surprise had passed away, leaving behind children and an unemployed partner to fend for themselves as is so often the case… Some statistics to make it all ‘real’…

So, today is World AIDS Day 2011, I’m doing my bit here to help spread the word, I truly believe that education and awareness are the key to improving this tragic, worldwide problem…

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important for reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV. During 2010 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children. Despite a significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over the last five years, there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths in 2010.

The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in low- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.” {source}

Some light amongst the gloom and doom...

AIDS-related deaths are decreasingThe number of people dying of AIDS-related causes fell to 1.8 million [1.6 million – 1.9 million] in 2010, down from a peak of 2.2 million [2.1 million – 2.5 million] in the mid-2000s. A total of 2.5 million deaths have been averted in low- and middle-income countries since 1995 due to antiretroviral therapy being introduced, according to new calculations by UNAIDS. Much of that success has come in the past two years when rapid scale-up of access to treatment occurred; in 2010 alone, 700 000 AIDS-related deaths were averted.” {source}

Why is universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care is the key to ending the global AIDS epidemic?

WATCH THIS VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwTGEsMgLOw

What can you do about it…

– Spread the word! Share the information! Educate!
– You can raise money to help HIV/AIDS charities with awareness and medical research
–  Wear a red ribbon today to show your support! (I didn’t think ahead and havent organised a real one, but I have displayed my digital red ribbon on all my Social Media profiles – Facebook, Twitter etc…)
– Dont have unprotected sex with someone who has not been tested (recently!)
– Get tested! Know your status!

FOR MORE INFO, VISIT: http://www.worldaidsday.org/ and  http://www.avert.org/

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