"Today is World AIDS Day 2009.
Each year, we mark World AIDS Day on December 1st, to remind everyone of the global pandemic that was first identified 28 years ago in the U.S.
Yet, more people than ever before are living with HIV today in America. As infection rates rise, the public's awareness of the very real risk for contracting HIV wanes. And stigma continues to prove as deadly as the disease itself, keeping people from getting tested and treated for HIV or AIDS.
Here's a snapshot of where HIV lives in America today, who is at-risk, and what's being done to curb this persistent epidemic.
Gender prevalence. Just over 75% of adults and adolescents living with AIDS are men.
Race prevalence. Those most impacted by the infection are black/African American at 44.1%, white at 35.1%, and Hispanic/Latino at 19.1%.
How are we infected? More than two-thirds of infections in the U.S. occur via male-to-male sexual contact. Heterosexual contact accounted for 83% of diagnoses among women.
Where does the infection live? The HIV/AIDS epidemic in America was once concentrated mainly in the gay populations on the East and West coasts. However, in recent years AIDS has become increasingly prevalent within black and Latino communities in many Southern states. Highest infection concentrations were found in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia and New York.
What prevention efforts have been most successful? One of the most successful efforts toward prevention has been intervention of mother-to-child transmission and antiviral therapies.
Stigma. President Obama announced that America's 1987 ban on any HIV positive person entering the country would be lifted as of January 2010.
Government funding. The 2009 budget request for HIV and AIDS domestic spending is estimated at just over $18 billion. Of this, roughly 68% is for care, 15% for research, 10% for cash and housing assistance, and 4% for prevention.
Children and HIV. Approximately 9,000 children under 13 years of age have been diagnosed with AIDS in America. Of those, close to 90% were likely infected via mother-to-child transmission.
Today's a day to take action.
Talk about HIV prevention with your friends and family. If you've engaged in high risk behaviors, get tested for HIV and most importantly, support those living with HIV and AIDS with your compassion and understanding."