Three years ago today, my brother Larry passed away after an 18 year battle with AIDS. The pain of losing a loved one to this devastating disease is painful beyond belief. But actually watching someone you love waste away from this disease is a pain that is too difficult to put into words. It isn't a quick death; it is a long drawn out death that kills little by little as vital organs in the body stop functioning.
Right before Larry died, he asked me to do him a huge favor. He asked that I do everything that I can to educate people about HIV/AIDS and help find a cure for this disease. So much of our research dollars go to Heart Disease and Cancer research (and rightly deserved). However, here are some heart wrenching HIV/AIDS statistics:
The correct provisional global estimates for 2007 are:
Number of children living with HIV in 2007: 2.1 million [1.9-2.4 million];
Number of children who died of AIDS in 2007: 290,000 [270 000-320 000].
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS in 2006
Total: 39.5 million
Adults: 37.2 million
Women: 17.7 million
Children under 15: 2.3 million
Misc. facts and figures:
Number of AIDS Deaths in 2006: 2.9 million. (2.6 million adults and 380,000 children under 15)
Number of Orphaned Children by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa at the End of 2003: 12 million
By December 2003 women accounted for nearly 50 percent of all people living with HIV worldwide, and for 57 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Young people (15-24 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide; more than 6000 become infected with HIV every day.
An estimated 5 million people in low income countries do not have the AIDS drugs which could save their lives.
There you have it, and it is sobering. I have many friends who have siblings that have passed from this disease. There are people in our ART groups who have family and friends that have passed from this.
So today, on the anniversary of Larry's death, I am asking you to please open up your hearts and give a donation to San Francisco AIDS Foundation http://www.sfaf.org/donate or to amFAR http://www.amfar.org/cgi-bin/iowa/index.html
It can be a $5 dollar donation if that's all you can do. But please...give. And feel free to give the link to my blog to your family and friends. The message needs to get out.
Rest in peace, dear brother. I miss you...