Dear Family and Friends,
Today is World AIDS Day and a time for us to reflect on the past thirty years and how the HIV/AIDS pandemic changed our lives and our world. Many of you may remember the early years. It took several years to identify this new disease and how it was transmitted and several more years before we had any effective treatment. Since those early days we have made steady progress in research, treatment and care. We have also developed significant funding resources both in our society and globally which allows us to provide needed treatment and care. Through research and clinical trials we have expanded the list of effective medication regimens. Recently, a new regimen of several drugs for positive people prevented transmission of HIV by 96% (exciting news). Treatment as prevention is becoming the new way to control HIV.
Even though we may think there is a potential for an end of the HIV/AIDS pandemic (a light at the end of the tunnel) there is still much that needs to be accomplished. Globally there are 2.7 million people that became infected each year for the past 5 years. Millions of people (6.6 million) worldwide are on treatment, but 14.2 million are sick enough to need treatment, and it is estimated that many people are infected but do not know it. In the United States, currently there are approximately 1.5 million living with HIV/AIDS, but approximately 20% of these infected people are unaware of their positive status. Many are on treatment, but also thousands of people needing medications are on waiting lists for drugs funded through the Ryan White Care Program; and, unfortunately, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year.
Many of you know that I have been a longtime supporter and serve on the Board of Directors of Until There’s A Cure (UTAC). UTAC is the AIDS Bracelet organization. We sell the bracelet and other items in order to grant funds to other HIV/AIDS organizations. Many of our grants have funded AIDS vaccine research, vaccine advocacy, care, and prevention. We also have provided small grants to several international partner organizations (Africa) that produce products that we purchase to sell returning a share of the revenue to these organizations. Please help us continue our mission by not only purchasing bracelets, but also donating directly to UTAC. Eighty five percent (85%) of all revenues go directly into our outreach programs. And on this World AIDS Day, let’s all re-commit to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
I wish you all a joyous, blessed Holiday Season.
Much love and gratitude,