December 1st marked this year’s World AIDS Day, and here at U-M we mark this occasion with an entire week of AIDS-related education, empowerment, learning opportunities. So what is the status of HIVS/AIDS in the US and globally, anyways? More than 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV infection, and 1 in 6 of those is unaware of their infections. Globally, 33.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS and more than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.
Yesterday, the world’s donor countries pledged $12 billion over three years to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. While the amount is undoubtedly large, many argue that the needs remain far greater than the aid being given.
So what can we do locally to combat the AIDS epidemic? There’s a lot of work being done on AIDS at the SPH right now. The Center for Sexuality & Health Disparities, or SexLab, for example, has a project called UHIP, United for HIV Integration and Policy. UHIP is an academic-community partnership to address barriers affecting Black and Latino young men who have sex with men in the Detroit Metro Area through advocacy and policy. On campus, there are tons of events to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic, like film screenings, panel discussions, and even a variety show. Click here to see the entire AIDS Week calendar.
AIDS.gov has established an initiative called #FacingAIDS in order to spread awareness and decrease stigma. Even though World AIDS Day has passed, you can still contribute to their photo campaign. Check out their cool promotional video.
The White House says that an AIDS-free generation is within our reach – so let’s do everything we can to make it happen.