World AIDS Day at the State House – December 2, 2014
Sponsored by Rep. Gloria Fox & Rep. Sarah Peake
Did you know that there are an estimated 35 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS? Approximately 1.2 million of those people are currently living in the United States and about 14% of those people living with HIV don’t know that they have the virus.
World AIDS Day, which is recognized internationally on December 1 of each year, provides a forum to commemorate those who have passed from the disease, speak about those that are affected by the virus and provide education on prevention and treatment.
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day was “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation”. The goal of the theme is to focus on interventions that work and partner with a broad range of stakeholders to achieve control of the epidemic and move closer to an AIDS-free generation. (CDC) By collaborating with government and community agencies, both at home and abroad, sharing best practices and helping to build strong public health systems, it is the hope that AIDS will no longer be a disease that future generations have to worry about. The commemoration of World AIDS Day also hopes to eradicate the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS by educating legislators and community members about the disease. (The US Dept. of Justice)
The Fourth Annual World AIDS Day event at the State House was held today at the Grand Staircase which provided an opportunity for state legislators, public health officials and community AIDS service providers and consumers to come together. The speaking program featured the event co-sponsors, Representative Gloria Fox and Representative Sarah Peake, the Massachusetts Office of HIV/AIDS from the Department of Public Health, the Boston Health Commission and personal stories of survivors and advocates. There were also panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display to remember the lives lost to the disease and a screening of The Last One: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a documentary that examines how stigma and discrimination exacerbated and still fuel the disease.
Do you know someone living with HIV/AIDS? Do you want to educate yourself further on the disease? Check out these links below for more statistics, resources, prevention and treatment.