Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

AIDS Ribbon
World AIDS Day, which began in 1988, is one of the few days--perhaps the only day--out of the year when the world focuses on the 27+ year-old pandemic that now has killed killed millions of people and continues to be a global public health issue. According to UNAIDS's estimates, about 33 million people are living with HIV across the globe, 2.5 million of these PWAs being children. About half of the people who become HIV-positive are 25 or younger, and die from AIDS before they reach 35. HIV and AIDS are threats to people all over the globe--though the countries of southern Africa have suffered and continue to suffer the worst from the pandemic, HIV and AIDS are threats on every continent, in every country.

About seven years ago, I heard someone state rather authoritatively that we were in a post-AIDS era; I understand the theoretical formulation, in that the "crisis" mode of the AIDS epidemic in the US had waned dramatically, but the reality is that HIV seroconversions and deaths form AIDS continue in the US, with the largest impact still felt by African Americans and the poor. We are hardly in a post-AIDS era. Not just today but every day we ought to challenge the denial, complacency, indifference, false hope, demonization, and ignorance, just to name a few of the culprits, in the ongoing spread of HIV. If you haven't checked out any of the Worlds AIDS Day sites or read up recently about HIV and AIDS, please take today or one day this upcoming week to do so. This year's World AIDS Day theme is "Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise - Leadership." Educate yourself, and most importantly, take the lead in helping to educate others.

From Alert's World AIDS Day site's section on the United States:

HIV and AIDS affect all sectors of American society – men and women, young and old, black and white, gay and straight, rich and poor. The impact of AIDS has nevertheless been more serious among some groups than others. In the early years of the epidemic, the most commonly identified ‘vulnerable groups’ in America were men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, haemophiliacs and Haitians.

Today, AIDS continues to infect thousands of gay and bisexual men and injecting drugs users every year, but it has also become a serious problem among heterosexual African Americans, and the Latino population is increasingly affected too. The table below shows how the burden of AIDS among various ethnic groups compares to the percentage of the population that each ethnic group represents. Further statistics can be found on our African American HIV and AIDS statistics page.

Discussion of the current epidemic in the black community can be found on our HIV/AIDS and African Americans page.

There are also variations in the geographical distribution of AIDS cases across the USA. Once an epidemic that was concentrated mainly in the gay populations on the East and West coasts, AIDS has also now taken hold within Black and Latino communities in many Southern states. The map on the right shows how AIDS cases were distributed across the US in 2005.

More AIDS statistics for the USA are available in our HIV statistics section.


And on a related note, here are two articles, one a report summary, the other a news article, discussing some of the pressing issues confronting US AIDS prevention efforts and the discussion of public health issues in two of the nation's urban centers:

Kaiser Family Foundation: Washington, DC, Releases New Data on HIV/AIDS

New York Times
: "In a Progressive State, a City Where Gay Life Hangs by a Thread," on Newark, New Jersey.

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