It’s World AIDS Day. AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity based in the UK, gives us the following statistics:
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children [and 15.4 million women]. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.
Because this is a parenting blog, I’ll also note that an estimated 420,000 children became infected with HIV in 2007, and 330,000 died from AIDS. Only 9% of HIV-positive pregnant women in the developing world have the drugs needed to prevent the virus being transmitted to their babies. People under 25 years old account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide. Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans.
Finding a cure is more than just red ribbons and feel-good walks, however. The Think Before You Pink site by the group Breast Cancer Action, takes a cautionary approach to supporting products and companies that claim to help fight the disease. I think much the same applies to HIV/AIDS. Give money, but choose your recipients with care.
Also of note is the site AIDSVote, a new site where three of the U.S.’s largest HIV/AIDS-care groups have compiled information about the leading presidential candidates’ stances on AIDS-related issues. (Thanks, 365gay.com.)
Let’s not lose the personal in the political, however. Take a moment today to remember those living with AIDS, those who have died from it, and those affected by it because of someone close to them.