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AIDS is commonly overlooked because many people think that they don’t know anyone with the disease. These people do not realize how false this is. According to UNAIDS, there are now [an estimated] 33.2 million people living with HIV. Nearly half of the people infected contract the virus before age 25 and are killed by AIDS before they reach 35. Many people shrug it off as a disease that only exists in third-world countries. This is not the case.
Nearly everyone is touched by the disease, whether they realize it or not. My uncle lost his battle to the disease at age 31. Each year, around two million people are infected with the disease. This is something that needs to be stopped, but what can you do?
Advocate. World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness and support, fighting prejudice, and improving education. The theme for this year is “Universal Access and Human Rights.” This is very important because not everyone has access to services that are crucial to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. Though this disease is not curable, it can be stopped in its tracks if each person does their part to advocate for the right to universal access.