|Monday is World AIDS day|
The 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day will be observed around the world and in Greenwich on Dec. 1. Locally, the events for World AIDS Day will take place at Town Hall on Monday, Dec.1, as coordinated by the Greenwich Department of Health. Included in the events will be free, rapid HIV testing — results are available in 20 minutes.
This year's World AIDS Day theme is “Lead — Empower — Deliver.” As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV. However, despite these policies, most have not been fully implemented as many lack necessary funding. While treatment for HIV/AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1996, many people living with HIV still do not have access to medication or care. In 2007 only 31% of people living in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it. Lead-Empower-Deliver means that everyone should have the opportunity to be tested and treated without stigma or economic barriers.
To achieve the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programs, treatment, and care, action is needed now. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. Individuals must feel empowered to know their rights, to take action to access screening and treatment.
Worldwide 33 million men, women and children are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. In the United States, more than 1 million people are living with HIV and one-fourth of them are unaware that they are infected. To reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease, the CDC recommends that people between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV to know their health status. All communities are affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In the United States, in a unified observance of World AIDS Day, the White House will dims its lights on the evening of Dec. 1. This visual demonstration will signify the commitment to fight the AIDS pandemic and will give tribute to people living with HIV/AIDS and to those who have died from AIDS related illnesses. Here in Greenwich, the day will be observed by asking all citizens to wear a red ribbon and to take advantage of free testing.