Thursday, December 1, 2011

World Aids Day

Did you know? (from the Kaiser Family Foundation)

• There are approximately 34 million people currently living with HIV and
nearly 30 million people have died of AIDS-related causes since the
beginning of the epidemic.

•  While cases have been reported in all regions of the world, almost all
those living with HIV (97%) reside in low- and middle-income countries,
particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

•  HIV primarily affects those in their most productive years; about half of
new infections are among those under age 25.

•  HIV not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households,
communities, and the development and economic growth of nations.
Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious
diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.

•  Despite these challenges, new global efforts have been mounted to
address the epidemic, particularly in the last decade, and there are signs
that the epidemic may be changing course.  The number of people newly
infected with HIV and the number of AIDS-related deaths have declined,
contributing to the stabilization of the epidemic.  In addition, the number
of people with HIV receiving treatment in resource poor countries has
increased more than 20-fold since 2001, reaching 6.6 million in 2010.

The ladies over at Feministing have this to say:

Socioeconomic factors play a huge role in who is exposed to HIV/AIDS and who has negative health risks. While no cure exists, treatment can make it possible to live with the disease. Yet the drugs are expensive and inaccessible to many people. Only 28% of Americans infected with HIV are being treated effectively, according to the CDC. The numbers are much worse in parts of the world where more people have less access to health care – 76% of deaths due to AIDS were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007.
The good news is we’re seeing progress in research into stopping the disease. Exciting new research shows proper treatment for HIV is 96% effective in reducing transmission. Yet we are seeing funding cuts both to research and treatment and prevention programs worldwide. Cuts that put millions of peoples lives at risk.
Funding is a major issue in the US, too. African Americans and trans folks havehigher rates of infection, with factors like income obviously playing a huge role. But there’s never enough money, so the pie gets divided up along identity lines. You may notice the focus of increasingly less visible HIV/AIDS campaigns shifting between different groups, usually African American boys and men or women and girls, depending on who the latest statistics say is most at risk. Which really serves as a distraction from the fact that there’s not enough funding being directed towards this issue to actually end the pandemic and make sure everyone living with the disease receives the treatment they need.
UNAIDS has suggestions for ways to take action on World AIDS Day. It’s also important for us to continue acting by pressuring government and international agencies to take serious, large scale action to end this pandemic.