World’s AIDS Day is Friday, December 1 — a day commemorating the millions of lives lost to this deadly disease, reminding us of the millions suffering from HIV or AIDS, and the millions still at risk. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.

Let these numbers sink in. They are huge. As YouthAIDS (youthaids.org) National Yoga Ambassador, Seane Corn points out, “There is no vaccine and there is no cure and the life-extending drugs that are available to us in this country are far out of reach for most of the 40 million people who currently live with HIV.” She also points out some other harsh stats:

  • Two young people become infected with HIV every hour in the U.S.
  • 50% of all new infections occur in young people between the ages of 15-24. Most of them don’t know they carry the virus.
  • 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS — that is the equivalent to every American child under the age of 5.
  • AIDS kills one child every minute.

What can you do? You can take action that shows you care:

  • Wear a red ribbon
  • Talk to people
  • Go to an event
  • Get involved

For further information about how to learn more and/or get involved go to youthaids.org or omhrc.gov/hivaidsobservances. You can make a difference.