Monday, December 01, 2008
Off topic: World AIDS Day turns 20
Today marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the annual event dedicated to remembering the lives lost to HIV/AIDS and to recommitting with vigor to the fight against AIDS. In the past two decades,the virus has claimed the lives of 20 million people.
Today, thanks largely to lifesaving antiviral drugs, the number of AIDS related deaths have leveled off to just about 2 million each year. That's 2 million too many.
In 2006 alone, AIDS killed an estimated 380,000 children under the age of 15. Looked at another way, that roughly the equivalent of a city the size of Tampa, FL vanishing.
Attention diverted from domestic epidemic
As much of the nation's attention has focused on combating HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, while the world wasn't looking the domestic AIDS epidemic has become much more serious than previously believed. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the annual rate of new HIV infections in the U.S. is nearly 50% higher than previously believed.
And as America lost interest in its own epidemic over the last decade, the disease became even more firmly implanted in Black America.
Closer to home, new HIV infections in Palm Beach County, FL , this year, were up by 50 %, ending years of drops. The increase reflects a change statewide, according to Florida Health Department records. The new diagnosed cases brings the total number of people living with the disease in the county to 7,568. Still Health Department officials believe the number of cases may be about 20% more.
Also see: Black America: A Neglected Priority in Global AIDS Epidemic
One woman making a difference
Pastor: Black Churches must join AIDS fight
Thousands urge Obama to make HIV/AIDS in US a priority
Locally: Big Bend Cares