It’s a frightening statistic. Young people aged between 18 and 24 are make up 26% of new HIV/AIDS infections. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that of that percentage, more than half of those infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, don’t even know they have it. That lack of knowledge that is one of the driving forces in the annual World AIDS Awareness Day.
The local World AIDS Awareness Day will be held the same day as international ceremonies, December 1, 2012. In our area, World AIDS Day will be highlighted by a candlelight vigil beginning at 4:00p.m. at the Rawlings Library Infozone on the building’s 4th floor. Rawlings Library is located at 100 East Abriendo.
According to the website, World AIDS Day is the focal point of the World AIDS campaign which is active all year round. Many people hold events on December 1 to remember those who have died of AIDS- related complications and to pledge support to those living with AIDS or HIV.
It’s estimated that there are over one million people in the United States living with AIDS. There have been significant strides made in fighting the disease. For example, only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV themselves, because of the advancements made in medicine.
But the virus is still a threat to certain groups in our community including women, people of color, and as mentioned before, young people between 18 and 24.
Some people think that because Pueblo is not a metropolis that HIV or AIDS is not a concern here, but that’s not true. The Pueblo Community Health Center offers services for those dealing with the virus or the disease in 17 southeastern Colorado Counties. Janet Fieldman, Chief Foundation Officer for the Pueblo Community Health Center Foundation, Inc., says the organization currently is helping 147 people in this part of the state.
Those who work with HIV or AIDS say the best way to combat the spread of the disease is through education. We may not hear as much about it these days as we did when the epidemic began, but it has not gone away. More information about the vigil, you can contact Joelle Wiggins at 543-8718 x249 or Avanye Renner at 543-8178 x190.
The local World AIDS Day remembrance is sponsored by the Community Health Center, Girls Scouts of America, PFLAG, and S-cap.