World AIDS Day was established in 1988 and was the first ever health day acknowledged around the world. This is a day to mourn the loss of many and a day to educate ourselves and others. The facts and numbers about this virus are forever shocking:
33.4 million are currently living with HIV/AIDS.
More than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.
In 2008, 2 million people died due to HIV/AIDS, and another 2.7 million were newly infected.
In the United States more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) are unaware of their infection
Around the world a spotlight is on AIDS awareness today. Red ribbons may weave through the timelines of your social media streams and your morning news programs may have special reports about World AIDS Day and how you can get involved in your community. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “getting to zero,” as in zero discrimination, zero new HIV infections, and zero AIDS-related deaths.
I have been involved in AIDS awareness since high school when I worked a few times a week doing outreach for a local health center. Being active in theater and the performing arts was the reason I was hired, as they needed teens who were not shy about talking about anatomy in front of other high school students. Ironically I was very shy about most of the stuff I was talking about, but I was great at sticking to a script. My activism grew as I made friends with people who were battling HIV and full-blown AIDS. I realized all of the numbers and jargon I blathered out to students were actually about PEOPLE.
Having a conversation about AIDS, or rather not being afraid to have a conversation about AIDS, is one of the easiest ways a person can get involved on World AIDS Day. Share information, share the stories you read today, share the hope that some day (soon) we will find a cure. We wear a ribbon as a symbol, but silence has never been a part of today.
A look at 2013′s World AIDS Day
in Hollywood and Beyond:
World AIDS Day 2013 1 of 11
Bono’s work is neverending 2 of 11
Bono has done so much work to help end the spread of AIDS. Last week RED, a creation of Bono's and Bobby Shriver to get business people involved in fighting AIDS, had a charity auction in New York. The auction netted $13 million dollars and, according to The New York Times, that amount was then matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Image Credit: PR Photos
(RED) Soundtrack 3 of 11
RED is making it possible for you to attend one of the biggest World AIDS Day events. The organization will be live streaming the Stereosonic Festival in Sydney, Australia. (Read more about the event on Rolling Stone.) You can also purchase a compilation of dance music created from some of your favorite artists (Madonna, Katy Perry, Coldplay, etc). Available from iTunes for $9.99.
Image Credit: Still from the YouTube trailer of the album
Someone Like Me 4 of 11
If you are inspired to get involved, MTV is looking for you! The MTV Staying Alive Foundation has partnered with Durex to create a three year campaign. According to a press release Someone Like Me is a "global campaign for young people to [revolutionize] their own sex education and, ultimately, to take action to help shape a world free from HIV."
Image Credit: Still from YouTube promo video
Annie Lennox encourages testing 5 of 11
Annie Lennox is very involved in World AIDS Day programs in the UK this year. In addition to giving her support to an HIV testing drive at the Royal London Hospital, the singer is also jumping in to some powerful awareness campaigns in Scotland. She shares, "Stigma is one of the biggest challenges facing the diagnosis and treatment of HIV in Scotland and around the world today."
Image Credit: PR Photos
Los Angeles concert with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen 6 of 11
The AIDS Research Alliance hosted a concert in Los Angeles this weekend for World AIDS Day. The event honored actors, activists, and friends Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. LeVar Burton was the master of ceremonies of the event. He told California's Public Radio that people need to keep fighting. "I think the problem is that it's dropped off a lot of people's radar. I think it's important to remember that it is still a problem. I think that and certainly sexual behavior in America indicates that we have forgotten that AIDS is still there."
Image Credit: PR Photos
Rally in Times Square 7 of 11
A small rally is scheduled today in Times Square in New York City. Mathew Rodriguez of ACT UP New York, a group "united in anger," is helping to organize the rally. He told Monica Miller from WCBS that he wants to see Cuomo "make New York state the first state to end AIDS."
Image Credit: World AIDS Day
The Battle of amfAR 8 of 11
Set your DVR for a new HBO documentary premiering Monday night about the unbelievable creation of amfAR. Executive produced by fashion designer Kenneth Cole, The Battle of amfAR tells the story about the unlikely pairing of a scientist and a movie star to create the leading research foundation for HIV and AIDS. The women were also the founders of World AIDS Day.
Image Credit: Stills from YouTube from the trailer
MTV’s Girl Code special episode 9 of 11
MTV continues its involvement with World AIDS Day by dedicating an episode of their popular show, Girl Code, to STD and HIV testing. The show is participating in the GYT campaign. GYT (get yourself tested) is something MTV has been dedicated to for a while. You can read more about how they share this message on the GYT site.
Image Credit: MTV video still
Queerty’s HIV Cinema Guide 10 of 11
The great people over at Queerty put together the de facto list of HIV- and AIDS-related movies. It's a powerful list.
Image Credit: Queerty logo
CNN helps you get involved 11 of 11
Still in need of details, numbers, science, and how everything is all connected? CNN has truly stepped up this year with an interactive page with lots of information for you.
Image Credit: CNNI Design & Development
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