Every year, on December 1, countries around the world commemorate World AIDS Day. The goals are to
- Raise awareness.
- Promote prevention and treatment.
- Remember those who lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Globally, more than 34 million people are living with HIV. In the United States, there are 1.1 million people living with HIV, and 1 in 5 don’t know they’re infected. Thanks to the availability and access to treatment and care, many individuals living with HIV are now living longer and healthier lives.
As we enter the fourth decade in the fight against HIV and AIDS, I believe we are a step closer than we were a year ago to winning that fight. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is 100% preventable. It is key that we support our government’s call to action, “Getting to zero” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/onap/nhas), to put an end to HIV/AIDS.
CDC estimates there are nearly 50,000 newly infected Americans, and young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent about a quarter of these new HIV infections. By working together, knowing and sharing the accurate prevention messages, and encouraging everyone to know their HIV status (www.hivtest.cdc.gov), we can foresee an AIDS-free generation!
Promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through CDC’s National Prevention Information Network (www.cdcnpin.org) is one of Danya International’s top priorities. For World AIDS Day, Danya strives to show its commitment and dedication by
- Displaying several AIDS Memorial Quilts throughout the Atlanta office.
- Building a Web page for partners to find HIV/AIDS resources for World AIDS Day.
- Supporting a World AIDS Day Twitter Chat.
- Finding new ways to convey prevention messages through social media.
Danya is proud to partner with CDC toward the goal of reducing HIV/AIDS in the near future and eventually eliminating it altogether.
It will take all of us to achieve this goal! This World AIDS Day, I challenge each of you to talk with your partner, spouse, significant other, relatives, friends, and neighbors about HIV and encourage them to get tested (www.hivtest.cdc.gov). It is recommended that everyone (especially those between the ages of 13 and 64) get tested at least once a year.
If you don’t know your HIV status, why not get tested? It’s often said that if you know better, you’ll do better—and YOU can improve your chances of living a long, healthy, and productive life. There are free testing sites (www.hivtest.cdc.gov) available near you. Alternatively, home HIV testing kits make it easy to test in the privacy of your very own home and can be found at many retail pharmacies.
Finally, stay involved and keep promoting HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The work must continue across the United States and around the world to achieve the goal of zero new HIV infections.