Opinion & Commentary
In AIDS Pandemic, "No One Is Immune"
November 30, 2007
"It is inconceivable to me that in the year 2007, there remains a need to designate an annual day to mark a health pandemic that has reached global proportions and continues to claim millions of lives each year.
"My memory of the crisis goes back more than 25 years, when unexplained cases of enlarged lymph nodes in gay men were first observed by physicians. No one knew what this was or how to stop it.
"... In 1983, AIDS cases were reported in 33 countries, claiming more than 2,000 lives. ... Since then, well, the statistics are staggering.
"... An estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV. In 2007, 2.5 million have become infected, and 2.1 million have died of AIDS, according to a United Nations report released last week. At home the black community is especially vulnerable. African Americans, who make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, account for nearly 50 percent of all infections, according to the CDC. The rate of HIV/AIDS diagnoses for black women is 20 times the rate for white women. ... The world now recognizes the threat that HIV/AIDS poses to all of our lives.
"So what do we do while we wait for a cure? Talk to a young person. We have a generation of young people who do not believe they are at risk, who do not believe they need to use a condom, who cannot remember a time when drugs were not available to treat HIV. And we must have hope for all humankind: No one is isolated from this pandemic, and no one is immune."
Elizabeth Taylor founded her HIV/AIDS Foundation in 1991 and co-founded the Foundation for AIDS Research.
11.30.2007; Elizabeth Taylor
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.