By now, I’m sure you’re all aware World AIDS Day is today. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, I’m certain you must live under a rock. But I’m glad you’ve finally joined the rest of us. Welcome.
The World Health Organization (WHO) website tells me that between 2011 and 2015, the overarching theme of World AIDS Day is “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” The picture above, which uses that same language, is from my trip to Kenya last summer when I attended the Kisumu Agricultural Show. Here, several organizations, health-related and otherwise, set up booths to inform people about their goals and objectives, sometimes even their products.
I went to the show with the Kisumu Initiative for Positive Empowerment (KIPE), which is a small organization dedicated to helping men living with HIV, and this is where our own booth was located. We were distributing materials like informational pamphlets, condoms, and lubricants, and we were telling passersby about AIDS.
AIDS is like one of those scary monsters we were told about when we were young. You know, the ones we thought were hiding under our beds or in our closets. Except unlike those monsters, AIDS is very real. There are 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world and more than two-thirds of them are in developing countries. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 60% of young people in the United States don’t even know they are infected.