World AIDS Day: Remember, Support, Learn

According to the World Health Organization, more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV, and over 30 million people have died of AIDS since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s (WHO, 2012). Today, it is estimated that 34 million people are living with HIV, most of whom do not know they are infected with the virus (WHO, 2012). Developing countries, particularly those in Africa, carry the burden of HIV prevalence, as shown in the figure below (WHO, 2009).



This Saturday, December 1, marked the twenty-fourth annual World AIDS Day. This day is designated to unite and remember those who have died of HIV/AIDS, support people living with the virus, and increase awareness of effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Richmond Global Health Alliance would like to acknowledge organizations that employ this spirit in their daily work.

Fan Free Clinic
Richmond, Virginia

Since 1970, Fan Free Clinic has provided free health care to those in the Richmond area who have limited access to care. In the 1980s, Fan Free Clinic spearheaded the state's first community-based HIV/AIDS outreach program and remains a leader among local HIV/AIDS advocacy and health organizations today. They provide free testing, education, and support groups, and are at the forefront of spreading HIV/AIDS awareness in the Richmond community. Last year on World AIDS Day, the Fan Free Clinic organized RVA Remembers, a community-wide campaign that received national media attention. At 12p.m. on December 1, 2011, four-hundred red umbrellas opened in the shape of a red ribbon to symbolize remembrance of the victims of HIV/AIDS and to commit to HIV/AIDS education and prevention.

Here is a video of RVA Remembers 2011: 



VCU HIV/AIDS Center
Richmond, Virginia

The VCU HIV/AIDS Center provides clinical, research, educational, and support activities throughout the state of Virginia. Their services reach a number of diverse audiences, including individuals living with HIV/AIDS, medical providers (physicians, pharmacists, nurses, psychologists/psychiatrists, dentists, etc.), social workers, substance abuse professionals, and case managers. The overall goal of the VCU HIV/AIDS center is to prevent the spread of HIV and improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. 

TED

TED is a world-wide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to "ideas worth spreading." Essentially, the organization gathers thinkers and doers from all over the world to share their ideas in a talk lasting 30 minutes or less. TED then posts videos of the talks on its website, which are available to the general public at no cost. TED has hosted a number of talks on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and impact from individuals in a variety of academic and professional fields-- from photography, law, and economics, to biochemistry, psychology, and epidemiology. Some of our favorites are below. 

Elizabeth Pisani
Sex, Drugs, and HIV-- let's get rational



Shereen El-Feki
 HIV -- how to fight an epidemic of bad laws



Hans Rosling on HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals 




Cited sources: 
World Health Organization. (2012). Global health observatory: HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/index.html.

World Health Organization. (2009). Global health observatory map gallery: HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/app/searchResults.aspx.