Most of you have heard of it. I'm sure some of you even know someone who has been infected with HIV, if you yourself do not have the disease. AIDS gets a lot of attention from the media, and especially the fashion world. It is December 1st, and an estimated 144 people in the United States alone will contract HIV today. 144. In 24 hours. That's 6 an hour, and one every nine and a half minutes.
In the world at large, there were 33.4 million living with HIV/AIDS in 2008; of that 33.4 million, over 50% were women. In Africa, the continent most devastated by HIV/AIDS, approximately 14 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS. 67% of people with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, 2 million people died of HIV/AIDS. 2 million men, women and children. (Statistics.)
Pretty disconcerting, huh? But it doesn't have to be. I don't want to preach, but I'm going to have to get on my soapbox for a minute. HIV/AIDS are debilitating. They will ruin the lives of those who contract them one white blood cell at a time. We all know about the physical symptoms of those infected, but what about the mental? Emotional?
Bianca Jagger knows this firsthand. "Friends of mine who have died of AIDS and many of those friends…did not tell me until the very end... because they felt that there was a stigma, a taboo, attached to it.” The stigma. Can we not rest our judging ways for just enough time to consider the circumstances of people involved? We as a society are not all-knowing.
I walked in the 2009 Delaware AIDS Walk this fall and all I can say is that if any of you have the opportunity to volunteer for an HIV/AIDS service project, take it! It's such a wonderful cause, and I cannot describe how gratifying being with all of my fellow supporters was.
But if you really can't get involved, there are other ways to show your support. And that brings me to my first Holiday Gift List of 2009...
Bleeding (RED): Holiday Gifts with Heart
1. T-Shirt by Stella McCartney for Gap ($28)
2. Blouse by Emporior Armani ($285)
3. iPod Nano by Apple ($149-179)
4. (RED) Artists for DELL Laptops (+$60 on top of purchase)
5. Ring by Solange Azagury
6. Messenger Bags from Timbuk2 ($95)
And one last thing before I let you go. This is a video from (PRODUCT) RED, a campaign for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa.