immunodeficiency syndrome) is one of the most destructive and widespread epidemics
in recorded history. It has killed more than 25 million people since it was discovered
in 1981, and it is the world’s fourth leading cause of death. In 2006, more than
3 million people died from AIDS and more than 1/2 million of them were children.
15 million children around the world have lost one or both parents because of
AIDS. 38 million people are infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS, and
without treatment, many more will die from AIDS. Less than one in five who need
treatment have access to it.
are grim statistics, but many international organizations, charities, governments,
scientists and concerned citizens are working to help end the AIDS pandemic.
1988, World AIDS Day was started as an opportunity to unite the global community
to fight AIDS by raising awareness and support for its prevention and treatment.
Until 2004, UNAIDS (the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) spearheaded
the global coalition of organizations, governments and communities collaborating
on World AIDS Day activities, but since 2005 it has been coordinated by the World
AIDS Campaign. Until 2010, the main theme of the campaigns on World AIDS Day and
throughout the year is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise." This refers to
the Millennium Development Goals all nations agreed to at the United Nations Millennium
Summit, with one of the 8 goals being to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Despite this pledge, 4.3 million people became infected with the HIV virus in
2006 - more than in any other year!
are many things that you can do to help raise awareness and support for the global
campaign to end AIDS. Wear a Red Ribbon to shop your support for those living
with AIDS and the fight against the pandemic. Take the leadership pledge
to take a lead in fighting AIDS on the worldaidscampaign.org website. Write letters
to local and national leaders to take a greater leadership role in the fight against
AIDS, and hold an event to urge your community to get involved.