“We ALL are living with AIDS…”
This sentiment shared by award winning actress Judith Light has always been my introduction to the topic of HIV/AIDS. To many, it may seem that AIDS is a distant disease, impacting people very different than you and in places far, far away. Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS is still here. We all are, in fact, living with this disease.
The mission of Word AIDS Day 2012 is “Getting to Zero.” We are making progress, but HIV/AIDS is still a critical health crises AND relevant to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s highly likely that a family member, friend or workplace colleague regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, is infected with HIV and possibly living with AIDS.
My work with HIV/AIDS began with the AIDS Walk, The AIDS Ride, and as the employee educator of the Viacom/MVT Networks “Know HIV/AIDS” campaign. Working with partners across the cable, healthcare, and non-profit industries I had the privilege to work with many celebrity AIDS ambassadors including Common and Ashley Judd.
YOU too can make a difference. It’s been my work in the community that has made the biggest impact on my life and and on others. All of us, through our personal actions and collaboration can make an impact: by knowing the facts, acting in support of those living with HIV/AIDS, and volunteering your time and helping to educate others.
Those most at risk are, in fact, the core of our workforce: young people under the age of 24. Diversity and inclusion is not just about gender, race, veteran status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or economic status. It also includes compassion and support related to personal health, including HIV/AIDS.
Please join me in remembering those lost to this disease. Work with me and others to support those living with HIV/AIDS, and working to prevent new HIV infections.
After all, we all are living with AIDS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://aids.gov/index.htm
Until next time: connect, collaborate and create.
KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS:
- 34 million [31.4 million – 35.9 million] people globally were living with HIV
- 2.5 million [2.2 million – 2.8 million] people became newly infected with HIV
- 1.7 million [1.5 million – 1.9 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses
- There are approximately 3-4 million AIDS “orphans” living in Africa – both parents lost to AIDS
-Declining new HIV infections in children: The area where perhaps most progress is being made is in reducing new HIV infections in children. Half of the global reductions in new HIV infections in the last two years have been among newborn children.
-Fewer AIDS-related deaths: Anti-retroviral therapy has emerged as a powerful force for saving lives. In the last 24 months the number of people accessing treatment has increased by 63% globally.
-More investments: Countries are increasing investments in the AIDS response despite a difficult economic climate. The global gap in resources needed annually by 2015 is now at 30%. In 2011, US$ 16.8 billion was available and the need for 2015 is between US$ 22-24 billion.