Today marks the 20th annual World AIDS Day, created to provide various AIDS programs, governments and individuals the opportunity to come together to raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic. Right now, about 33 million people in the world are living with HIV (the virus that eventually leads to AIDS). Of those 33 million, approximately two million of them are children under the age of 15. And many are in need of proper treatment.
According to an article in the New York Times, 5.5 million people live with the virus in South Africa alone. Of those, 800,000 need anti-AIDS drugs to survive; however, half of those people are not receiving the drugs they need. While the South African government agrees that something must be done, between 2000 and 2005 approximately 330,000 people died because the government refused to bring the necessary drugs into the country. Instead, the government promoted the use of lemons, garlic, beetroot and the African potato as ways to cope with the disease.
Because many victims in many countries lack the necessary drugs, it’s important for everyone to get involved and raise awareness about this epidemic. One way to support it is by joining the (RED) campaign. The (RED) campaign is launching its new digital music magazine, (RED) Wire, today. By subscribing to it, you can receive music from artists all over the world, and the proceeds will go to support the campaign. Another way to raise awareness is by wearing the Red Ribbon, the international symbol used to show support of those living with HIV. You can even get a virtual Red Ribbon (like the one above) to post on your personal blog or Web site. You can also give a donation to the National AIDS Trust or even host a fundraiser for the organization. Whether or not you donate to the cause, it’s important to bring awareness to the topic of AIDS because there are too many people that need help. And not just for today but every day.
Visit AIDS.gov to find World AIDS Day events as well as other awareness events related to fighting the AIDS epidemic.