interview with U.N. Ambassador Richard
Holbrooke on the AIDS epidemic
has one of the
highest rates of AIDS in the world. (7/06/00)
of HIV / AIDS in South Africa (5/22/00)
Fight Against AIDS
By the time you finish reading this, fifteen more teenagers will become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Once thought to affect mostly gay men and intravenous drug users, AIDS is now hitting young people hardest.
In the U.S. last year, more than 6,500 people between 15 and 24 became infected with HIV.
Why are teens and young adults falling victim to this fatal but preventable disease?
Experts aren't completely sure, but some think one problem is many young people just don't take AIDS seriously anymore. Most teens in the U.S and other developed countries have heard about AIDS prevention in school, on TV and from friends and family and some of them are getting tired of it.
AIDS just doesn't seem like that big a deal anymore.
And with all the new medication available, people with AIDS are living longer, more normal lives. But while AIDS and HIV patients are happy to be able to blend in with the rest of society, there may be an unintended effect: the AIDS epidemic is becoming invisible.
AIDS isn't over. And new infections are rising fastest among young people,
especially heterosexual young females.
Of the 3 million people who are expected to die of AIDS in the coming year, 80 percent will be African. So it's not surprising that some people in wealthy nations are tempted to dismiss AIDS as an African problem.
"It's very striking that in the wealthy countries there is a perception that AIDS is over," said Peter Piot, executive director of the United Nations' AIDS agency. "The availability of treatment has resulted in a complacency which is becoming really dangerous."
Now experts are also worried about other parts of the world, like Russia and Eastern Europe where the number of people infected with HIV is expected to nearly double.
There will be 45,000 new AIDS cases in North America and 30,000 new cases in Western Europe this year.
World AIDS Day
But there is some good news. Doctors, teachers, parents, and politicians all over the world are still committed to fighting and preventing AIDS. And you can help.
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. People around the world will pay tribute to those who have died from AIDS and advocate for more public attention to the disease and those infected by it.
Latin pop singer Ricky Martin will host a half-hour documentary on HIV/AIDS on MTV, called "Staying Alive 2." It will air in 11 different languages and will premiere on MTV's channels in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Russia and the United States. The documentary highlights the stories of six victims of AIDS from the Dominican Republic to Uganda.
In New York City, the American Run for the End of AIDS (AREA) is hosting a rally and candlelight march, followed by a vigil and memorial reading of names of those who have died from AIDS.
In Boston, the Global Health Council is co-sponsoring a forum at Boston University to help train and assist grass-roots lobbying organizations.
the NAMES Project Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit, is coordinating
more than 150 displays of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and hundreds more
displays are being organized by the group's 46 chapters.
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