POZ - World AIDS Day - WAD 2009

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World AIDS Day 2009

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Each year, we mark World AIDS Day on December 1st. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember those we have lost to the pandemic and to resolve anew our battle against this deadly killer.

The World Health Organization announced recently that HIV/AIDS is the number one cause of disease and death among women ages 18-49 worldwide. AIDS has already taken the lives of 25 million people and 33 million more are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS around the world today.

And yet, as infection rates rise, the public's level of awareness of their very real risk for contracting HIV wanes. We have a funding crisis for HIV/AIDS worldwide. Even the current budgeted relief programs come nowhere close to meeting the need we have to get those who require treatment into care. And stigma continues to prove as deadly as the disease itself, keeping people from getting tested and treated for HIV/AIDS.

We have far too many people incarcerated who are not getting adequate care for HIV/AIDS or access to condoms and the rise of the number and severity of cases of people being criminalized for HIV is alarming. In 2009, non-disclosure of HIV/AIDS became grounds for first degree murder and the virus has been considered a "bioterror weapon" by a Midwestern court.

But we also have new political capital, particularly in the United States, to fight the monster of AIDS. President Obama has pledged to fight HIV/AIDS. We are on the brink of developing a national AIDS strategy in the United States that will hopefully allow the newly re-established Office of National AIDS Policy in the White House to better fight HIV/AIDS in America.

We have more—and better—treatments than ever before. We have had some significant breakthroughs in research in the last year. We have made great headway in stopping mother-to-child transmission of HIV, we are pursuing better medical understanding of post- and pre-exposure prophylaxsis, microbicides, preventive and therapeutic vaccines, and new classes of antiretroviral medications.

One thing has become evident throughout the course of the AIDS pandemic—the resolve of the HIV/AIDS community is powerful and there is much courage and determination on the part of people living with and affected by HIV to keep fighting the virus.

So on this day of mixed blessings, may we all fondly remember those we have lost to AIDS and re-pledge our determination to battle HIV/AIDS until the day when we have a cure.

We want to know what World AIDS Day means to you. E-mail us at news@poz.com subject line "World AIDS Day" to submit your comments.


We know that many of you are participating in World AIDS Day events around the country—and the world. The following is a list of some of the events the POZ staff will attend.

November 30

POZ magazine's special supplement on HIV/AIDS appears in The Washington Post.

December 1 - World AIDS Day

POZ Editor-in-Chief Regan Hofmann appears on a special World AIDS Day episode of "In the Life" TV with Kenneth Cole, fashion designer and chairman of the board of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

POZ Editor-in-Chief Regan Hofmann and Deputy Editor Oriol Gutierrez attend a symposium on "HIV Scale-Up and Global Health Systems" sponsored by the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University:

POZ staff attend protest outside Gracie Mansion in New York City against Mayor Bloomberg by Housing Works and NYCAHN:

POZ staff attend God's Love We Deliver World AIDS Day event with MAC AIDS Fund volunteers:

POZ staff attend the Housing Works 24-hour AIDS Vigil in New York, NY:

POZ staff attend the Light for Rights event in Washington Square Park in New York, NY, organized by a partnership among amfAR, UNAIDS, the World AIDS Campaign and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The floodlights illuminating the Washington Square Arch will be extinguished and then restored, as well as the marquee lights of major Broadway theaters:

Tim Horn, AIDSmeds president and editor-in-chief, talks to Summit High School juniors and seniors in Summit, NJ, and participates in a panel discussion at the Johns Hopkins Moore Clinic in Baltimore, MD.

December 2

POZ staff attend the Arthurkill Correctional Facility in Staten Island, NY, to speak to inmates about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment:

December 3

POZ Editor-in-Chief gives a lecture at the Drexel University School of Public Health on the dangers of AIDS stigma and how stigma—even among those in the medical professions—can prove to be a barrier to care.

December 4

POZ Editor-in-Chief speaks to students at Greenwich High School in Greenwich, CT, about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment.

POZ staff attend the New York City community discussion hosted by the Office of National AIDS Policy at which commentary from the HIV community was solicited for input to the national AIDS strategy:



POZ Editor-in-Chief Regan Hofmann appears on a special World AIDS Day episode of "In the Life" TV with Kenneth Cole, fashion designer and chairman of the board of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research:


At POZ, we know that the stigma around HIV/AIDS can be as deadly as the virus itself. That's why we dedicated our December/World AIDS Day issue to the notion of fighting stigma.

Click here to read POZ Editor-in-Chief Regan Hofmann's letter on the deadly power of stigma.

Click here to read the feature story on stigma featuring the results of the POZ Stigma Survey.

Watch POZ December 2009 covergirl Nokhwezi Hoboyi from the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa speak about how stigma has affected her:

Watch Eric Goosby, MD, ambassador at large and global AIDS coordinator, talk about PEPFAR, vaccines and stigma:

Watch Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) discuss federal HIV/AIDS funding, the development of a national HIV/AIDS strategy, dealing with stigma and inspiring new leaders:

Watch Naina Khanna, director of policy and community organizing at WORLD, discuss stigma, the challenge of targeting limited resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS for women, communities of color and LGBTs:

Watch Malvin Vien and Robert Muruyama, MD, both from APICHA, discuss the challenges in the Asian & Pacific Islander communities of stigma and HIV testing:

Click here to watch videos from World AIDS Day 2008.


President Barack Obama issued a proclamation for World AIDS Day:

Our Nation joins the world in celebrating the extraordinary advancements we have made in the battle against HIV and AIDS, and remembering those we have lost. Over the past three decades, brave men and women have fought devastating discrimination, stigma, doubt, and violence as they stood in the face of this deadly disease. Many of them would not be here today, but for the dedication of other persons living with HIV, their loved ones and families, community advocates, and members of the medical profession. On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to developing a national AIDS strategy that will establish the priorities necessary to combat this devastating epidemic at home, and to renewing our leadership role and commitments abroad.

Though we have been witness to incredible progress, our struggle against HIV/AIDS is far from over. With an infection occurring every nine-and-a-half minutes in America, there are more than one million individuals estimated to be living with the disease in our country. Of those currently infected, one in five does not know they have the condition, and the majority of new infections are spread by people who are unaware of their own status. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate as it infiltrates neighborhoods and communities. Americans of any gender, age, ethnicity, income, or sexual orientation can and are contracting the disease.

Click here to continue reading the proclamation.


Kevin Fenton, director of NCHHSTP at the CDC, released this statement for World AIDS Day:

On this World AIDS Day, we are reminded that the fight against HIV is far from over, in the United States and around the world. Every nine and a half minutes, someone in the United States is newly infected with HIV. One in 5 of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in this country are unaware of their infections and may be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. And although available treatments have dramatically increased the life expectancy of people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, it remains a fatal disease - in 2007, more than 14,000 Americans with AIDS died. Clearly, we must keep fighting this preventable, yet deadly disease that impacts so many Americans, and we laud President Obama's commitment to reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

The impact of HIV in the United States continues to be most severe among some of our most vulnerable populations. By risk group, men who have sex with men account for the majority of new infections and of people living with HIV. By race/ethnicity, African-Americans and Latinos bear the heaviest burden of disease. And although rates among Asians/Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaska Natives are lower, the burden of HIV on these communities remains significant. A range of social, cultural, and economic factors - including stigma, racism, poverty, and limited access to health care - contribute to the disproportionate impact of HIV on each of these groups. And since young people in each of these populations continue to become infected with HIV at high rates, we must continue to reach each new generation with information and education on how to prevent HIV from impacting their lives.

Click here to continue reading the statement.

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