World AIDS Day marks a day of awareness and stresses the importance of prevention through education. It also provides us with a blatant reminder that while the government continues to fund abstinence-only programs, more and more young people are denied life-saving information. These dangerous programs fail to provide youths with the necessary information they need to make responsible decisions. Without the facts, our teens may not be fully prepared to protect themselves from infections like HIV/AIDS.
I hope you'll take this opportunity to visit one of our friends, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. AFC, a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, works to stop the spread of new infections and improve current HIV/AIDS services through advocacy, care, and prevention projects. Their website contains lots of information and educational materials. For example, take a look at these quick facts:
- An estimated 10,000 HIV-positive Illinoisans (25%) do not know they are infected with HIV.
- In Illinois, 84% of people reported with HIV diagnoses reside in the Chicago metro area.
- More than 1,000 Chicagoans are believed to be infected with HIV each year.
On December 1st, let's remember that HIV/AIDS effects communities from Chicago, to Bejing, to Cape Town. Let's spread the word that education and testing are essential parts of prevention. To learn more, visit http://www.aids.gov/. To find a testing site near you, go to http://www.hivtest.org/ or visit your closest Planned Parenthood health center.
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