Danya Institute Inc.

Letter from the Executive Director: World AIDS Day 2012

December 1st, 2012, was the 24th year of observance of World AIDS Day. The observance was first conceived by two Global Programme on AIDS staff, James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, in August 1987. It was first observed on December 1st, 1988.

The Status
Current information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that approximately 1.2 million people in the United States of America live with HIV, but about 240,000 do not know that they carry the virus. That is 1 in 5 individuals within the Unites States living in ignorance of their HIV/AIDS status. That 1 in 5 can now possibly infect others with the virus, and they themselves are now at a higher risk of developing serious medical problems and early death.

The global scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is captured in the UNAIDS 2010 Global Report. The data shows that 33.3 million adults and children were living with HIV in 2009, with 2.6 million newly infected during that same period. Broken down by region, adult prevalence rates in the top three regions rank as shown in the chart below (with North America and Central and South America both coming in at 0.5%). The good news is that recent UNAIDS data also shows that 25 countries have reduced new infections by more than 50%! We will continue our work to support the getting to zero campaign: – Zero new HIV infections – Zero discrimination- Zero AIDS -related deaths 

The Solution
The national and global data clearly shows that this is not a small matter to address, but there are concrete steps that you can take to reduce the risk of new infection, and the continued spread of the disease.

  • GET TESTED! Knowing your status is the first step in preventing the spread of the disease. If you’re in the US, text your zip code to “KNOWIT” (566948) for a testing site near you, of go to http://www.aids.gov/to find testing, substance abuse, mental health, housing, and other available services!
  • If you test negative, CONGRATULATIONS! Continue to use protection when having intercourse, avoid other risky behaviors such as using or abusing drugs, having multiple sex partners, being non-compliant with psychiatric medications, etc.
  • If you test positive, know that the number of individuals living with HIV who get AIDS has decreased over time, because of the advances in drug treatment, specifically antiretroviral therapy (ART).
  • Be compliant when taking your HIV medication, because medication keeps the virus under control and lowers the risk of transmission of the disease.
  • Continue to seek prevention counseling and services, as behavioral change is a key component in this fight against the spread of the disease.

The Danya Institute

There are many partners at various tables working on national and global HIV/AIDS initiatives, and although much has been done, we know that there is always more to do. Please JOIN us as we continue to expand the work of the Institute and its Center for HIV, Hepatitis & Addiction Training and Technology, so that we can have a greater impact on those suffering with the disease, by improving the skills of the professionals in the field.

Ryan R. Springer MPH
Executive Director, The Danya Institute

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