World AIDS Day began Dec. 1, 12 years ago to increase awareness of the pandemic, generate information on how to avoid the disease and to make a plea for funding to find a cure.
The day also memorializes those lost to AIDS, those stricken with AIDS or diagnosed HIV-positive.
“Men Make a Difference” is the theme of World AIDS Day 2000 and targets recruiting men as partners in the war against the disease.
The goal of this year’s activities is to motivate men and women to talk openly about sex, sexuality, drug use and HIV/AIDS; to encourage men to take care of themselves, their partners and families and to promote programs which respond to the needs of men and women.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 10 percent of HIV infections worldwide occur through heterosexual intercourse and another 10 percent through sex between men. Five percent takes places among intravenous drug users, four-fifths of whom are men.
As of the end of 1999, an estimated 34.3 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Although the numbers of those living with HIV/AIDS are high, the interest in prevention and testing is increasing.
“In 1999, my first year at the (UC Berkeley Health) Center, there were no students interested in asking questions or concerned about monthly AIDS testing,” said Brian Kim, HIV Prevention Coordinator. “In 2000, more students and co-workers are now showing a great interest in the AIDS virus. We (at UC Berkeley Health Services) now have student peer groups available for counseling as well as weekly AIDS testing.”
For information regarding anonymous AIDS testing, call UC Health
Services at 642-7202 or City of Berkeley HIV/AIDS Program at 665-7300.