PULLMAN Wash — Washington State University will join the world in observing the 13th annual World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. Locally, the events are scheduled in conjunction with AIDS Awareness Week on the WSU campus Nov. 27-Dec. 1.
An HIV survivor will highlight the week’s events with a speech at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the Compton Union Building, Room 208. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, there will be a free showing of the movie “Kids” in the CUB, Room B1-5. Friday, on World AIDS Day, there will be free HIV testing in the CUB, Room 220, from 12-1 p.m.
World AIDS Day will end with a candlelight vigil on the Glen Terrell Mall at 7 p.m. Friday. This visual demonstration will signify the commitment to fight the global AIDS epidemic and will give tribute to people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as those who have died from AIDS.
Members of the WSU community can show their support by wearing AIDS awareness ribbons that will be distributed all week in the CUB. In addition, an AIDS quilt will be available for viewing throughout the campus.
World AIDS Day aims to increase awareness of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic globally and in the U.S. This year’s World AIDS Day theme is “AIDS: All Men — Make a Difference!” Because men represent the majority of people living with
HIV/AIDS, the World AIDS Day 2000 theme urges men to increase their awareness of the risk of HIV/AIDS for themselves, their partners and their children. In addition, men are encouraged to use their influence in their families, among their friends and their communities to help stem the tide of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic has become so alarming that the United States has declared AIDS a national security threat. As of 1999, 34.3 million men, women and children worldwide were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS and 19 million have died. Last year alone, an estimated 15,000 people were infected with HIV every day. In the United States, 850,000 people are now infected with HIV. Despite the fact that new AIDS drugs are prolonging years of productive life for many with HIV, the rate of new HIV infections remains high in the United States, with 40,000 new infections reported in 1999.
All communities are affected by the continuing spread of AIDS. According to the Washington State Department of Health, as of Oct. 31, 2000, over 9,000 people have been diagnosed with AIDS since 1982 in Washington state. Of those reported cases, 5,342 people have died. About 92 percent of these cases are adult and adolescent males, 7 percent adult and adolescent females, and the remaining cases are children.
There will be 191 countries around the world unified in observing this day to draw attention to the AIDS epidemic.