Seeing Red

In June 1981, scientists reported the first clinical evidence of a disease that would become known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.

Twenty five years later news of the pandemic is relatively sparse in the U.S. But the global battle against AIDS is far from won. Indeed, today marks the eighteenth annual World AIDS Day, in which mankind does what it can to combat the disease that has killed 25 million worldwide, including an estimated 2.2 million children under the age of 15. It continues to ravage the lives of countless millions worldwide.

The highest incident rate of new AIDS cases this past year was in Miami.

On behalf of the 40 million people estimated to be living with HIV in the world today, UNAids encourages you to consider the following:

� In 2005, an estimated 2.8 million died of AIDS-related illness -- more than half a million were under age 15

� Nearly 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and that number is expected to climb to 25 million by 2010

� Last year alone, 4.1 million people became newly infected

� In Sub-Saharan Africa, almost one in three pregnant women attending public antenatal clinics are HIV positive

� About 1,700 children become infected with HIV every day

� About 1,400 children under the age of 15 will die from AIDS-related ilness today

� In developing countries, only one HIV-positive child in 20 receives the treatment they need. Lack of medication is tantamount to a death sentence

� Sixty-four percent of the world's AIDS cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa

� In the United States, 1.9 million were found to be living with HIV in 2005

� The highest incident rate of new AIDS cases this past year was in Miami

� New York accounted for 187,424 cases, Los Angeles for 55,106, and Miami for 52,526

Don't just sit there. Get involved, AIDS is a preventable disease.

Get tested: South Beach AIDS project offers free, confidential testing and results within the hour.

Buy a red ribbon.

Donate: Numerous organizations accept donations, including Miami's own SBAP, and international agencies such as Save The Children.

Participate: Several events are being held in South Florida, including the 6th annual Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief (CAEAR) Coalition Partnership Awards Dinner (email for more info), and the Unity Awards, which will acknowledge the contributions of individuals in the fight against HIV/AIDS (for more info contact David Allison-McPherson (305) 347-4682). -Joanne Green

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Frank Houston