The Red Ribbon, started by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS ("UNAIDS") is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year and started by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS in 1998 is dedicated to raising awareness of the global AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005 of which, more than half a million (570,000) were children.
The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.
AIDS IN KENTUCKYOn November 21, 2006 at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, the United Nations World Health Organization issued a frightening report that the global AIDS epidemic continues to grow and there is concerning evidence that some countries are seeing a resurgence in new HIV infection rates which were previously stable or declining.
According to the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Cabinet for Health and Human Services, Department for Public Health, HIV/AIDS Branch:
AIDS in Kentucky increased through 1995, but then dropped 40% from 1996 to 2000. This decline was partially due to advances in treatments for HIV and opportunistic infections. The treatments prolonged the lives of many patients as well as extended the time from HIV infection to AIDS progression.
In 2001, for the first time since 1995, an increase was observed in the Kentucky AIDS cases and has continued to increase steadily. 2005's numbers showed AIDS once again spiraling out of control with white homosexual males living in Lexington and Louisville being the primary cases in the commonwealth.
14% of homosexual males in Kentucky who have AIDS are aware of their status and continue to have sex with unknowing partners.
47% of HIV positive people are not aware of their status and continue to have multiple sexual partners.
Nearly 85% of all AIDS cases in the commonwealth are within the Bluegrass Region including Covington, Frankfort, Florence, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, Richmond, and Winchester.
76% of all Kentucky AIDS cases are between the ages of 24 - 43.
According to the Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch, HIV is primarily spread through sexual contact with an infected person and by sharing contaminated syringes, needles, cotton, cookers, and other injecting drug use equipment with someone who is infected.
Information provided by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, HIV/AIDS Branch:
- Free anonymous and confidential testing and counseling is available at every health department in Kentucky. After being infected with HIV, it takes between two weeks and six months before the test can detect the antibodies to the virus.
The Kentucky HIV/AIDS Branch urges everyone to get test if you:
- Have had sex with someone who has HIV.
- Have had sex with someone who has or has had any sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- Have shared needles or syringes with someone who has HIV.
- Have had multiple sex partners or you have had sex with someone who has had multiple partners.
- Have had sex through prostitution (male or female).
- Have had sex with injecting drug users.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
- Are a woman who is pregnant or desires to be pregnant and who wishes to reduce the chance of your baby getting HIV from you, should you be infected.
A person with AIDS is susceptible to certain infections and cancers. When a person with AIDS cannot fight off infections, this person becomes ill. Most people with AIDS will die as a result of their infection. AIDS is caused by a virus called Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.
Early diagnosis of HIV infection is important! If you have been told you have HIV, you should get prompt medical treatment. In many cases, early treatment can enhance a person's ability to remain healthy as long as possible. Your doctor will help you determine the best treatment for you.