World AIDS Day
Today was World AIDS Day, so we had another opportunity to say, "Yes, this year we're really going to change and make an effort to address the problem of AIDS throughout the world!" The World Health Organization made such a promise two years ago in a program called "3 by 5." This set the target of providing 3 million people in less-developed countries with the anti-retroviral drugs they needed to fight AIDS by 2005. That would cover half of the estimated 6 million people who need the drugs and can't afford them. Guess what--the WHO fell short. At least Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who leads WHO's AIDS efforts, had the good manners to apologize. Improvements are being made, and a significantly larger number of people are receiving treatment today than they were in 2003, but there's still much more to do.
More people need to get effective treatment for AIDS, but more of an effort needs to go into AIDS prevention, as well. We're up over 40 million people living with HIV throughout the world. One reason that number is so large is that people are living longer with the virus, so we have fewer deaths to keep the stats low. But another reason is that the virus is spreading and new people become infected daily. If you're looking for some effective methods of educating people to prevent the spread of HIV, you could do worse than to take a look at Teaching AIDS over at the right of the screen.