by AUDrey | February 4, 2012

It was recently estimated that there are over 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS and 3.4 million of those cases are with children. What’s more shocking is that 23 million of those people are from Sub-Saharan Africa, whereas only 1.3 million are from North America. Every year the number of people living with HIV/AIDS rises and yet we seem no closer to a “cure.”

Most global health organizations make some goal to help stop the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. That’s because HIV/AIDS truly is an epidemic. It is hard to imagine suffering from HIV/AIDS, especially when the vast majority of cases are in Sub-Saharan Africa, but we must empathize with the millions who do suffer from it and make an effort for change.

In the 1980’s when HIV/AIDS cases first started appearing in hospitals, people referred to it as GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) because it was seemingly contained in the homosexual community. Meanwhile in Uganda, doctors were seeing the first cases of a new, fatal wasting disease. This illness soon became known locally as ‘slim’.

At that time, HIV was a highly stigmatized virus and people with HIV were discriminated against because medical professionals and researchers had not yet realized its method of transmission nor had they discovered any method of treatment. The people who got HIV/AIDS in the 1980’s were essentially left to die because it was an untreatable illness.

Now though, there are many antiretroviral drugs that can slow the progress of the virus and prevent HIV from becoming AIDS. We also know how transmission occurs. Yet, millions of people are still living with HIV/AIDS, 2 million people will die from AIDS and another 2.7 million people will contract HIV/AIDs each year.

We have resources to firstly prevent, and then treat (to an extent, there’s definitely no cure) HIV/AIDS, but so many still suffer. Make an effort to do something to help stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Every small thing makes a difference- your help could save a life.

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