Friday, November 29, 2013

What will YOU do about AIDS?

Raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, government, health officials, AIDS service organizations, and people around the globe observe every December 1st as World AIDS Day, with speeches, films, candlelight vigils, and forums on the AIDS topics.  Sunday is the twenty-fifth such observance.

Long before anyone heard the term AIDS, people were already dying. It was "4 H disease," because the first cases were found among homosexuals, hemophiliacs, Haitians, and heroin users. Later the name was changed to GRID, for Gay related immune deficiency. The epidemic began officially on June 5, 1981, when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported unusual clusters of Pneumocystis pneumonia caused by a form of Pneumocystis carinii in five homosexual men in Los Angeles.  It didn't have an official name until the summer of 1982, when the CDC began referring to the  disease as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS.
 
Over the years, research has been important, but so too has been patient service, education, and erasing the stigma.  Annual events like AIDS Walk and AIDS LifeCycle have been important and so are the many events that take place on World AIDS Day.  Click HERE to get details on today's National AIDS Memorial Grove Observance which begins in Golden Gate Park at 11:30am.  The World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil & Memorial begins at 5pm at Harvey Milk Plaza which is at Castro & Market Streets in San Francisco.  At 7pm there will be an Interfaith World AIDS Day Service at Saint Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco.  Also at 7pm the Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street) screens "We Were Here,"  an AIDS documentary about the San Francisco response to the epidemic.  This is only a partial list of local events and of course there are things happening all over the world.

AIDS is still with us and the fight must continue!  Awareness is such an important part of that fight, so this World AIDS Day, do something and help spread the word.  We can all do something to help in the fight! What will YOU do?

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