1, marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and on
the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, AIDS
educators and health professionals the world over are
looking forward to a new direction and renewed
dedication to fighting the world epidemic.
Though much of
the focus on AIDS has shifted to Africa over the past
several years, stateside, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention reported this summer that new
infections in 2006, the most recent year for which
data was available, amounted to 56,300, about 40% more
than the CDC's previous estimate of 40,000 new infections
each year. Fifty-three percent of cases were among men
who have sex with men, and African-Americans accounted
for 45% of new infections.
AIDS educators --
perhaps predicting a dramatic shift in leadership in
this country -- got off to an ambitious start toward turning
those numbers back around in June when the second
annual "Test 1 Million" event in Los
Angeles vowed to test 1 million black Americans for HIV
before World AIDS Day.
caught on with educators around the globe. Earlier this
week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which provides
services to nearly 100,000 people in the United
States, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, launched its
own campaig, for 1 million tests on World AIDS Day
the globe will take place in this year's World
AIDS Day in various ways.
will observe a 15-minute period of silence to reflect on
the estimated 70,000 children who are born with HIV in
Africa each year.
In San Francisco,
General Hospital -- home to the oldest AIDS treatment
program in the United States -- will gather speakers and
politicians to commemorate the 25 years the hospital
has spent fighting the disease, and announce a renewed
commitment to finding a cure.
acting director of the Global AIDS Alliance, said that
this year, all eyes are on Obama to see if he can stand
behind his promise to spend $50 billion over five
years to fight AIDS on a global level.
comes into office having made a number of specific
commitments, including on HIV prevention. He, along
with Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary
Clinton, the likely next U.S. Secretary of State, signed a pledge on this
issue," Bergman said in a statement.
For more on World
AIDS Day and events around the world, visit www.WorldAIDSCampaign.org.