AHF to host over 150 events around the world to promote testing, treatment for HIV/AIDS; International commemorations will launch global campaign to connect twenty million HIV-positive people to treatment by the year 2020
Ged Kenslea, +1.323.308.1833 or mobile 323.791.5526 [email protected]
Christopher Johnson, +1.323.960.4846 or mobile 310.880.9913 [email protected]
LOS ANGELES (November 25, 2014) ¾ To mark the 26th observation of World AIDS Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, will host free HIV awareness and testing events in 28 countries around the globe, including the United States. Domestic activities will take place in over two dozen cities under the overall theme of “The War on AIDS In The U.S. Is Being Lost” to call attention to UN findings that, with over 50,000 new HIV infections each year, the U.S. carries a disproportionate share of HIV/AIDS cases among wealthy nations and has the highest AIDS-related death rate of any wealthy nation. Internationally, AHF’s global World AIDS Day activities will officially kick off the 20X20 campaign, a global initiative to have 20 million people living with HIV linked to medical care and on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) by December 31, 2020. All told, AHF will host over 150 World AIDS Day events around the world (NOTE: A full nationwide schedule of events is provided below).
“Because of powerful medical breakthroughs in HIV treatment options that have enabled millions of people to live long, healthy lives with the disease, many falsely believe that we’ve won the war on AIDS,” said Michael Weinstein, founder and president of AHF. “However, the facts tell a much different story. The United States continues to lag behind on the global HIV care continuum and our country has the highest AIDS-related death rate among rich nations. Faced with the reality that twenty percent of HIV-positive people are unaware of their status and three out of four HIV-positive people in the U.S. are not virally suppressed, this World AIDS Day is an urgent wake-up call for local, state, and federal leaders. More than ever, our elected officials and health care administrators must support policies that increase the number of people with HIV/AIDS who are knowledgeable of their status, retained in care, and adherent to their treatment.”
In addition to the multitude of events occurring in the United States, AHF will also be participating in World AIDS Day testing and awareness events in 28 other countries worldwide: Argentina, Cambodia, China, Estonia, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Zambia.
“With AHF’s goal of connecting twenty million people living with HIV/AIDS around the world to care and treatment by the year 2020, we are in a race against the virus,” said Terri Ford, AHF’s Chief of Global Policy and Advocacy. “While many nations have made significant strides in promoting HIV awareness and treatment, the top twenty countries still comprise eighty percent of the world’s population of people living with HIV/AIDS. From remote villages to thriving cities, stigma remains a global obstacle for people to get tested and receive the medical care they need. Our challenge on World AIDS Day is to be a force for men and women across the world to come out, be tested, learn their status, get connected to care if necessary and to encourage government officials at all levels to support their citizens every step of the way.”
“World AIDS Day is a memorial day when, for the past 26 years, the world comes together and pauses to remember how far we’ve already come in this fight, remember the lives at stake, and recommit to doing all we can to change the course of the AIDS epidemic,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, AHF’s Global Ambassador. “Whether you’re in Columbus, Ohio or Kampala, Uganda, you have a say in this fight, and we must all make our voices heard.”