World AIDS Day 2007

A few thoughts in the wake of World AIDS Day 2007:

The good news is that the UN and the World Health Organization have reduced the number of people infected with HIV worldwide from 39.5 million to 33.2 millon. The bad news is that the number 33.2 million feels like good news…

As a recent NY Times editorial stated:, “make no mistake, even with the revised estimates, the AIDS epidemic remains one of the world’s greatest scourges, requiring a strong campaign to bring it under control.” For a sobering demonstration of just what this number represents, click on the clip above (produced by The Foundation for AIDS Research).

An even more powerful document of the pandemic comes from journalist Stephanie Nolen’s “28 Stories of AIDS in Africa” – one of the most moving and important books I have read in years. I also strongly recommend to you this recent interview with Nolen which aired on NPR.

Again, to quote the NY Times:

It’s hard to rejoice too much when the number of people living with AIDS infections is still rising, more than two million people — mostly in sub-Saharan Africa — are still dying from the disease each year, and eight countries in southern Africa have more than 15 percent of their populations infected, a devastating blow to their societies and economies. The revised numbers cannot be used as an excuse to relax the campaign against AIDS.

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