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Recognizing World Aids Day

December 5, 2012  |  By Heidi Romans Nelson, CEO Duffy Health Center

Many of us think of HIV and AIDS as third world diseases, that the pandemic is under control in the United States, and certainly in Massachusetts and Barnstable County. It is true that we have good news to celebrate on Cape Cod regarding our progress over the past ten years, due to the highly successful prevention program funded by the Mass Department of Public Health:

New infections have dropped from 55 annually down to 12.   

AIDS-related deaths have dropped from 15 annually to 3.

And growth in the number of persons living with HIV has slowed. In 2002, that number was 445, today it stands at 613. 

Over the weekend, the World Health Organization and the United States government promoted their new campaign, unveiled for World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012. The new world goal is to reduce AIDS deaths to zero, accomplished by identifying people needing treatment, and getting folks into care as soon as possible. See the clip below from the WHO website. 

On Cape Cod, we are close to achieving the ‘zero deaths’ target; but we can’t give up! Prevention funds help to support our collaboration with the Infectious Disease Clinical Services at Cape Cod Healthcare. Duffy identifies clients and patients at risk for HIV, and refers them to IDCS. 

However, these funds are at risk, due to austerity measures for the Mass Department of Public Health. We are working hard to make sure that we retain these funds and keep up the good work that has been done over the past decade. 

Please let your elected officials know that you support continued funding for HIV and AIDS prevention in Massachusetts, so that we can achieve ‘zero deaths’ on Cape Cod. Thanks! 

Contact Your Legislators!

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day on December 1 brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.

Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of "Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths". The World AIDS Campaign focus on "Zero AIDS related deaths" signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.