Annual Events, Awareness, Giving Back, Topic of the Day|December 1, 2011 10:16 am

Join (Red) this World AIDS Day

In your hands

World Aids Day is a chance to assess where our governments and citizens are winning & losing the fight against HIV/AIDS.
While HIV/AIDS figures have been steadily dropping in most countries since the peak of the mid-90’s, the disease is still widespread with South Africa taking the lead with an estimated 34 million people currently living with HIV.

Postive Steps

But this year has heralded some positive steps for our country’s HIV/AIDS campaigns and projects. Today, President Zuma will launch a new 5 year National Strategic Plan (NSP) that many hope will deliver the tools necessary to make a true impact. Aids lobby group, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) was feeling upbeat about the NSP this week as well as other affected groups.

Also this week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi released the annual National Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Syphilis Prevalence survey which revealed an increase in HIV-prevalence among pregnant women. However, this spike was seen in the 24 to 39 age group, rather than the 16 to 24 age group, which appeared to be stabilising.

Fight AIDS together

Helen Zille’s Unconventional Methods

On Monday Helen Zille launched her ‘Get Tested & Win’ campaign (in conjunction with the 16 Days of Activism) whereby people tested during the period of 28 November to 9 December would be entered into a draw to win money. She’s laughed off criticisms of the campaign saying that you need to push the boundaries in order to make progress. For what it’s worth, her strategy seems to working and the province is attracting record numbers of testers. Earlier this month Helen was criticised for other HIV-related comments she made in her newsletter, where she condemned those who contracted HIV irresponsibly asking for handouts from the government. She later tweeted, “if you duck responsibility, don’t come running to the state when you need treatment”. Controversial? Yes. But there are plenty who would agree with her.

You’re sure to see her hanging around Table Mountain this evening though, when the natural wonder will be lit up with red lights in support of the ‘Turn the World Red’ campaign. Between 9pm and 11pm tonight, the mountain will turn red and we’re sure it will be a breath-taking sight. Wish we could see it.

Join (Red) today

Join Red Today!

The ‘Turn the World Red’ campaign, or rather (Red) is an interesting one. It’s a worldwide campaign with the aim of welcoming an AIDS-free generation in 2015. When you add your voice to their social media campaign and ‘Join Red’, sponsors donate cash towards their AIDS projects. They also have a number of musicians, bands and artists involved. The Killers have recorded a Christmas song for (Red) and when you create your own patch for the (Red) virtual quilt & make a donation, you get the song for free. Try it! It’s fun! You get to design your very own quilt patch.

HIV/AIDS in Numbers:

- The UN estimates some 34 million people worldwide lived with HIV last year, while improved treatment has meant that the number of AIDS-linked deaths has steadily dropped from a peak of 2.2 million in 2005 to 1.8 million last year.
- There were 2.7 million new HIV infections in 2010, including an estimated 390,000 among children.
- An estimated 1.8 million people died of AIDS-related causes in 2010.

- Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region hardest hit by HIV, with 22.9 million HIV-positive people in 2010, about 68 percent of the global total.
- The number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped by more than 26 percent, to 1.9 million in 2010, down from an estimated 2.6 million in 1997.
- South Africa has more people with HIV than any other country in the world, an estimated 5.6 million cases.
- There were 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010.

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