In 1981, my father had just begun to court my mother. Teased hair and neon leggings were popular. Professionals used notebooks, not netbooks. Belize became an independent country, and the first American test tube baby was born. It was also the year the first cases of AIDS were recognized within the United States.
Since then, more than 65 million people have been infected with HIV and sadly, more than half of that number have died. In spite of the staggering losses at the hands of AIDS, powerful antiretrovirals and medications have made a world without AIDS a viable possibility. Organizations like the Clinton Global Initiative, Project Red, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS are battling to lower the prices of these drugs so they are accessible in developing nations. But despite their efforts, the stigmas and international scope of this disease make it an ongoing challenge to overcome.
Below is an excerpt from the speech Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda.
“We’ve made a lot of progress together in the last 30 years. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been without controversy. But it has been steady, and we have stayed the course as a nation. In these difficult budget times, we have to remember that investing in our future is the smartest investment we can make. And generations of American policymakers and taxpayers have supported the NIH, medical research, scientific work, not because we thought everything was going to produce an immediate result but because we believe that through these investments, human progress would steadily, steadily continue.Let’s not stop now. Let’s keep focused on the future.”
So how can you and I take action?
- Visit an HIV testing facility, and encourage friends and loved ones to do so too.
- Join the Face Aids Initiative to erase the stigmas surrounding the disease.
- Visit the World Aids Campaign for resources, materials and information.
- Help raise funds and get cool stuff via Project Red.
- Visit Avert AIDS for information on red ribbon events or how to plan your own.