Despite the progress made both educationally and medically regarding AIDS, it remains a deadly disease throughout the world. Threatening a quarter of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS poses not only a medical threat to people who are not educated about it and unable to protect themselves from contracting HIV, but also an economic threat.
When such a large majority of a population suffers from AIDS, it is difficult for a nation to remain economically competitive. In its 31 known years of existence, HIV has killed roughly 30 million people and affected countless others.
It has been reported that in the United States, over half of those with HIV do not know that they have it and people ages 13 to 24 remain the most affected by the virus. With roughly 1,000 new patients a year and data showing the majority of high school students (both sexually active and inactive) have never been tested for the virus, it is becoming more apparent a significant factor in its spread is the ignorance and lack of education surrounding the issue.
But today, people are making moves to fight HIV and to raise awareness in the most effective ways possible. This year, Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and it will take a whole new approach to awareness.
(RED) has already gained the support of Bono, who on a recent trip to the White House requested that the U.S. government maintain its government funding for HIV/AIDS treatments. U.S. funding of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS has, overall, provided relief to roughly 6.2 million people in Africa who would have otherwise died from the virus.
While the recent fiscal cliff crisis has led to talk of withdrawing this aid, Bono argued that they should not do so because the funding makes up only 1 percent of the U.S. Government budget.
(RED) has also joined with DJ Tiesto in the fight. DJ Tiesto created a compilation album called DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES. This album features some well-known contemporary artists including Avicii, Calvin Harris, Diplo and others. Tiesto further encourages people to stand up against AIDS, become educated, and get involved by providing live streams from dance festivals from around the world.
Since 2006 (RED) has been raising money towards Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants, accumulating $200 million and affecting over 14 million people in Africa. (RED) sees the world on a path to progress, suggesting that if all goes according to plan and awareness campaigns and research continue, the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children should be eradicated by 2015.
This year, they hope to use the media and contemporary passion for music, particularly appealing to the electronic dance community, to expand their influence.
This World AIDS Day, take a look at the (RED) website, enjoy the YouTube campaigns, and consider buying DJ Tiesto’s album on iTunes. All of this will help raise awareness about AIDS and help “make this generation the one known for beginning the end of AIDS” as Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED) says.