SOME MIND-BLOWING FACTS AND QUOTES ABOUT THE GLOBAL AIDS EPIDEMIC:
You may or may not be aware that today is World AIDS Day. I know. . . we hear so much about the global AIDS epidemic that it's easy to get desensitized to it so I want to bring it home for you.
--In Africa, 6,600 PEOPLE DIE OF HIV/AIDS. . . EVERY DAY. Think about that. . . 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. More than twice that many people will die in Africa today. . . and tomorrow. . . and the day after tomorrow, etc.
--Or put it this way. Every single day, more people die of HIV/AIDS in Africa than the total number of U.S. soldiers lost in the Iraq war. And every week, more people die of HIV/AIDS globally than the 58,000 U.S. soldiers lost in Vietnam. That's staggering.
--And that's just the fatalities. 15 million children worldwide have lost a parent to AIDS. Oftentimes, these orphans are left to fend for themselves. . . or older brothers and sisters have to raise their younger siblings.
But there is some good news:.
--Aggressive awareness and prevention campaigns have slowed the spread of HIV. Uganda is a great example. 21% of the adult population in Uganda was HIV positive in 1991. Today it's only 7%.
--Other countries that have reversed climbing AIDS rates include the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Rwanda, Senegal, Thailand, and Zambia.
So what can YOU do? One of the coolest things you can do is sign up to sponsor a child affected by AIDS. But there are other ways to help too. World Vision has a fantastic website that lists 12 ways you can join the fight against AIDS. Take a minute to check it out."
Also, today, remind your coworkers that it's World AIDS Day. And when they give you a blank stare and ask why you interrupted their Fantasy Football discussion to talk about AIDS, tell them about the 6,600 people who are going to die in Africa today. . . and then tell them that for the same amount of money they're going to drop at Applebee's happy hour after work, they could sponsor an AIDS orphan for a whole month. Then, have them check out this photo montage that the "L.A. Times" did for World AIDS Day. . .
And if that doesn't thaw their calloused hearts, maybe share a few quotes on the subject. . .
--COLIN POWELL: "No war on the face of the Earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic. I was a soldier. But I know of no enemy in war more insidious or vicious than AIDS. . .
--"Will history record a fateful moment in our time, on our watch, when action came too late?"
--BONO: "What is happening to Africa mocks our pieties, doubts our concern, and questions our commitment to the whole concept of equality. . .
--"Because if we're honest, there's no way we could conclude that such mass death DAY AFTER DAY would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else."
--RICH STEARNS, president of WORLD VISION: "I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement?
--"I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn't they speak up?
--"And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist?
--"And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?"
--NIKKI WOODS, regular joe: "Now that you KNOW the problem, what are ya gonna do about it?"