In one week, I'll be participating in the Philly AIDS Walk, which is an annual fundraiser for HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment in the Philadelphia area. This walk has been a major source of funding for local HIV/AIDS organizations since 1987, and continues to be the primary awareness-raising event of the year for many of them.
HIV/AIDS continues to be a major health problem for approximately 30,000 people living in the greater Philadelphia area, and around the world. Here are some statistics from the AIDS Walk Philly website:
* There are an estimated 30,000 people living with HIV in the Greater Philadelphia Region (Philadelphia Deptartment of Health)
* According to the most recent data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the UN Report on AIDS, there are an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. – the highest level ever.
* Estimates suggest that at least half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. are among those younger than 25, and that the majority of young people are infected sexually.
* Approximately 25-30% of people infected with HIV do not know it.
* About half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S. are not receiving medial care.
* By the end of 2005, there were an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV. Of these, 10 million are young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
* In 2005, AIDS killed about 2.8 million people. 25 million have died since the first case was recognized in 1981.
* According to the UN Report on AIDS, an estimated 4.1 million people were newly infected last year.
* The UN expects global funds for anti-AIDS efforts to reach $8.9 billion this year, “far short” of the $14.9 billion needed to meet the organization’s target.
Part of the goal of Not Another Wave is to connect readers and contributors to a larger network of activists and anti-oppression thinking and change. This walk highlights the prevalence of HIV and AIDS, which has a significant impact on the power dynamics of our country and our world. Think about it: who is often identified as a "typical" person living with HIV or AIDS? While it's often identified as a problem faced only by drug users and people who have copious amounts of unprotected sex, the fact is that many people living with HIV/AIDS do not engage in significantly risky behaviours; many of them are born with HIV as a result of having parents who are living with HIV or AIDS. In order to make a change in the world, we need to tackle not only the misconceptions surrounding the virus, but also have an impact on the funding and treatment options available to those who live with it.
Since I signed up for the walk only a few days ago, I don't have a huge fundraising goal as I normally would. My goal is to raise $100. Every dollar counts, however, and it would be absolutely phenomenal if we could exceed my goal and give more to the organizations who are counting on it.
So are you in? If so, please donate now by clicking the link on my walk page. Any support you can offer is greatly appreciated, and I'll let you know how the walk is!
Thank you so much in advance!