Every December 1st since 1988, activists around the globe ban together to raise money and awareness for the prevention and treatment of AIDS.
This year has seen major advances in the battle against AIDS. Prevention efforts have been somewhat effective in stablizing the pandemic. This news comes on the heels of a controversial announcement from the Pope and good news about a groundbreaking new pill. Small victories in a battle that will continue but victories nonetheless.
UNAIDS recently released a report that points to dropping infection rates worldwide. Between 2001 and 2009, 33 countries have seen infection rates drop over 25%. This is good news but not every country has seen such great success. Rates continue to rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia a rise that some attribute to drug abuse and sex workers.
Truvada, a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs has been clinically proven to reduce the odds of infection in men. The drug still has to withstand more testing and is only effective if taken all the time but it is also another small blow against the spread of AIDS.
In a shocking move, the Pope has made a statement that there are some instances when condom use is justified. This comes as a shock considering the Catholic church’s stand on birth control but AIDS activists agree that this is a huge step in the right direction. It’s not a complete endorsement of condom use but it is the Pope taking a stand against the spread of HIV and AIDS.
These are moves in the right direction but there are still several steps to be taken. Last year, nearly 3 million people were diagnosed with the disease. If that isn’t reason enough to continue the battle, I don’t know what is. Celebrities including Talib Kweli and Bassey Ikpi are using their talent to spread the world. Alicia Keys and other celebrities have “died” in order to raise money and awareness. What are you doing to prevent the spread of AIDS?