Well, it was thirty years ago that we first gave a name and formalized recognition of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It was too many years later before President Reagan could bring himself to utter the word while legions died. So much was misunderstood. I volunteered at the AIDS Hotline phone bank in Los Angeles (no Internet in every home or every lap then) and it was harrowing–both the terror of the unknown, and the misinformation and misunderstanding of what WAS known. We’ve come a long way, Baby…but have a hell of a lot further to go.
ONE.org has launched a new campaign today, World AIDS Day, to try and get agreement from the world to bring an end to AIDS by 2015. They are launching a new online AIDS Quilt, and you can make a panel here to add your voice, creativity, memories, and most importantly, support to the effort. (I know we don’t have discretionary income any more, but this matters so much. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria just announced a few days ago that it has to cut funding to new programs to fight AIDS in needy countries, since donations have dropped off so precipitously.)
Please find a way to get involved, today and going forward. Here are some service/volunteer ideas to get you started from the office of the White House focused on AIDS education and prevention, a division of the office of Health and Human Services.
While treatments take away the grim reaper for many people who now live with AIDS instead of dying from AIDS, it is not cured, statistics show only about 20% of those infected with HIV are getting treatment that actually lessens their viral load (because only one in five who HAS HIV infection has been tested and KNOWS they are infected), and millions are dying all the time who cannot afford medicines. We can make it go away, not only in our lifetimes, but in our near future–but only with your help. We have arrived–it is the Beginning of the END of AIDS.
Today is the start of the G8 and G20 summits of world leaders about sustaining global economies and course correction for achieving the lofty and laudable Millennium Development Goals (including halting the global HIV/AIDS crisis, ending poverty worldwide, providing universal education, achieving gender equality, improving child and maternal health, increasing environmental sustainability, and creating a global partnership).
At each year’s summit meetings (this year in Ontario, Canada), protesters raise their voices outside the meetings, but we can all assert our priorities that we’d like leaders of the world’s nations to heed. With all the “8” and “20” talk, I’m pretty fond of another number: ONE. Pop over to the website for ONE (an activity I recommend doing with some regularity to check on the most recent issues) and learn more about some of the global priorities and progress. There, you’ll find a petition to the leaders of the G8/G20 to try and secure a promise to train and recruit 3.5 million healthworkers to make sure no mother ever has to give birth alone.
From the ONE web petition (sign here):
The facts are shocking: Every year more than 300,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth; 3.6 million children die within their first month of life; and 5.2 million more die before they reach 5 years of age.
On June 25, 2010, G8 leaders will meet to sign onto a new maternal and child health initiative. ONE is asking for a commitment to recruit and train 3.5 million additional healthcare workers as part of a comprehensive package to help mothers and children in the developing world.
Just because Christmas is at our doorstep, doesn’t mean you should stop giving.
Do you need charitable donations for the tax man, before December 31? ONE is an amazing organization, and even if you’ve given until it hurts, you can still go here to take action while keeping your wallet closed. Encourage President Obama to invest in the Global Fund for the end of year budgets and help the world’s most vulnerable countries continue their progress against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria (all treatable and preventable diseases). The money that could be allocated for this is not instead of healthcare here at home, we’re not robbing Peter to pay Paul–and it will make a world of difference.
Let your voice be heard. Click over and take action.