In case the title of the post didn't tip you off...December 1 is World AIDS Day. What does that mean? According to Avert.org, as of 2009:
-There are approximately 33.3 million people worldwide who are living with HIV or AIDS. Approximately half of these people are women.
-About 16.6 million children (ages 0-17) have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS.
-Another 2.5 million children are living with HIV and/or AIDS.
-About 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV or AIDS.
-This number may be inaccurate because approximately 20% of HIV-positive individuals have not been diagnosed or have not had their condition reported.*
-The fastest-growing demographic of individuals with HIV is females between the ages of 18 and 24.
These statistics aren't being given to scare you, or make you feel uncomfortable, but to wake us up to the fact that HIV and AIDS are global problems that we all need to address. They are also intended to remind us that 1) not all people living with HIV and AIDS are "socially deviant" in some capacity and 2) social deviance, of any sort, is not an excuse to ignore the very human rights of people to have access to information, medication, and ethical treatment by others.
So today is a day to get educated! Want to know more about the difference between HIV and AIDS? Want to know more about the new one-pill-once-a-day treatment option for HIV? Want to know how long people can live with HIV? Take the time to learn something about it. You may surprise yourself.
If you want to do more, start advocating! Several websites and organizations offer great ideas for how to advocate for better medical access and destigmatization for people with HIV and AIDS. Some suggestions are Care.org, AVAC, and NATAP. Remember: one of the most important thing we can do as feminists and as people is fight for the human rights that every single one of us deserves.
*This estimate comes from an assessment of infection rates and the information presented by individuals who do test and report their status.