UNAIDS and the WHO estimate that, as of December 2006, the number of people living with HIV has reached its highest level, at around 39.5 million. More than 25 million others have died of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) since it was first recognized in 1981, making the pandemic one of the most destructive in recorded history.
HIV is typically transmitted through sex or intravenous drug use, and is often associated with marginalized groups such as gay men, drug users and sex workers. For these reasons, and also because of fears of contagion, people living with HIV are frequently subjected to stigma and discrimination. Publicity campaigns around the world have aimed to counter HIV-related prejudices and misconceptions and to replace them with an accurate understanding that helps to prevent new infections.
These efforts have been greatly aided by various celebrities — including American basketball star Magic Johnson and South African judge Edwin Cameron — who have publicly announced that they are HIV-positive.
Condoms are the best way to protect against HIV as well as other sexually-transmitted diseases such as herpes and condylomas. HIV is transmitted via mucus, wounds, used syringes and bodily fluids. Of these bodily fluids only 5 carry the disease from one person to another: blood, sperm, pre-seminal male secretions, vaginal secretions, and mother's milk.
Treatment exists to fight HIV. This treatment is called antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. It is not a cure. It does, however, help the body's immune system fight HIV, and therefore has restored the health of many sick people within just a few months. That's what we call the Lazarus Effect.
ARV therapy is lifelong. This is why (RED) plans to be around for a long time, to help raise money for the Global Fund and continue to fight AIDS in Africa.
Some of you have asked, why Africa? In the United States, you can get ARVs at your local pharmacy, through your doctor and health insurance. If you don't have health insurance, there are programs that can help you get access to ARVs. In Africa, no one had access for many years, and the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who live with HIV has grown to 22.5 milion. We have a tremendous opportunity to help break this epidemic.
Most doctors don't test for the two most common sexually transmitted diseases - unless you ask them to! Learn what to ask for during your next STD test.
World AIDS Day is December 1. According to the World Health Organization, there are 33.2 million people in the world today living with HIV/AIDS. This video dramatizes the immense scope of that number with a series of one-second scenes representing each individual. Help us win the fight against HIV/AIDS. w.amfAR.org
Darfur, Sudan is being called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Tens of thousands of people have died. Two million more have been forced to flee their homes and livelihoods. For these innocent civilians, living on the edge of survival, their only hope is the dwindling number of humanitarian organizations willing to risk the dangers on the ground in Darfur to provide relief. International Medical Corps was one of the first relief organizations to arrive on the scene in Darfur, and remains there to this day. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, IMC provides help in more than 25 countries and regions worldwide that have been ravaged by war and disaster. IMC's network of some 5,0 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals makes it one of the fastest, most effective emergency response agencies in the world. For more information visit rldwide.org.
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