On this first day of December, World AIDS Day, let us stop for a few moments to reflect on all those who have been infected and affected with HIV and commemorate those who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and it was first celebrated back in 1988. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to join together, regardless of gender, income, race, nationality, language, or geography, and unite in the fight to combat HIV/AIDS. On this day, we can know that people in the U.S., Guatemala, Peru, Japan, China, Russia, Ethiopia, South Africa, England, Norway, and many other countries worldwide are all standing together in solidarity against this disease, and we should all join in.
Globally, an estimated 34 million people are infected with HIV (source) and over 36 million people have lost their lives. This year’s theme is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation” and speaks to the idea that we cannot eradicate HIV on our own. We cannot focus only on the people who reside within our borders; as global citizens, we are responsible for providing HIV prevention, treatment, and care to all those who suffer. HIV/AIDS is devastating communities both here at home and also overseas.
However, HIV/AIDS is not only a problem in foreign countries. There is a certain amount of complacency here in the U.S. about HIV – a belief that it is not something to worry about and that it’s just a chronic disease that rarely causes death. This is far from the truth – HIV is a serious problem in communities here at home. There are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. and approximately 1 in 5 of those people do not know they are infected . It is devastating gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) regardless of race. It is also a serious burden in African American and Latino communities.
Here at Farmworker Justice we are focused on HIV prevention in rural Latino and farmworker communities (you can read about farmworkers and HIV here). Our HIV programs focus on prevention and increasing HIV knowledge, awareness, and action (read more about our HIV programs here). For the second year in a row, in a joint effort to reduce stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV and AIDS and promote awareness and testing, Farmworker Justice joined the Facing AIDS initiative hosted by AIDS.gov. To see how we’re facing AIDS, visit our Facebook page or facing.aids.gov.
Join Farmworker Justice and help us end AIDS in our communities - get informed, get tested, and take action!