During this past year, we've heard a lot more "media buzz" about teen pregnancy than about AIDS, but HIV and AIDS are still here. People are still being infected, though sexual activity, needle sharing, and through childbirth, and even though treatments are more effective than they were before, not all those who are infected are being treated. People still die of AIDS.
But there is hope. This is part of an email written by the President of the AIDS Action Committee here in Boston:
On this World AIDS Day, we are on the precipice of a huge opportunity to make history. President-elect Obama has committed to implement a National AIDS Strategy in his first year in office and demonstrate the leadership necessary to end the epidemic in America. NAS calls for measurable outcomes, coordination of federal programs and accountability.Looking at the National AIDS Strategy document, I am pleased to see that it calls for coordination among agencies and researchers; and a focus on people of color, who are over-represented in proportion of HIV cases and whose outcomes are worse than those of whites. It calls for increased HIV testing, which comes with its own set of problems, yet since early treatment improves outcomes, now it makes more sense to push for early testing. I personally would like to see even more of an emphasis on prevention in the document, but hopefully that will come, as well.
While we are making progress, barriers remain. State, federal and foundation coffers shrink. Our clients, who live on less than $10,000 a year, struggle to meet their most basic needs. Together, we can overcome these obstacles and help those most in need.
Please, on this important day, consider donating to your local AIDS organization, or else to Boston's AIDS Action Committee. We have all been affected by HIV/AIDS. We must not forget.