Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today is World AIDS Day...

Today is World AIDS Day. I came of age after the AIDS crisis had become a part of our society, so I was fortunate to have the need for safe sex fairly ingrained in my mind. I also feel lucky that, although I know a few people who are living with AIDS, I have not lost anyone to the disease.

Advances in medicine have allowed individuals who have HIV or AIDS to live much longer than they would have 20 or even 10 years ago. However, this tends to create a feeling of invincibility among young people, who think that even if they contract HIV, it is something they can control. Since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 40,059 young people in the US have received this diagnosis, and over 10,000have died.

Progress in other countries hasn't been as positive. While the United Nations says new HIV infections have declined by almost 20 percent worldwide over the past decade, the estimated number of children living with HIV or AIDS in 11 Asian countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Liste) has increased by 46 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Be safe. Take care of yourself. While AIDS may not be the death sentence it once was, it still is a fatal disease.

Get tested.

Before you want to engage in potentially unsafe behavior, make sure you and your partner get tested.

Say a prayer for those who have lost their lives.

Stay safe. It's the best way to stay alive.

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