According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2006), over 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV/AIDS, and over 56,000 people are newly infected each year. African-Americans and Hispanics bear a disproportionate burden of the disease, accounting for 49% and 18% of the new infections while making up only 13% and 15% of the total US population.
The US AIDS incidence and prevalence is shocking, but it pales in comparison to the global AIDS pandemic. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook (2007), there are currently 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with African countries bearing the greatest disease burden.
Nurses across the world are no strangers to caring for patients with HIV/AIDS. For the most part, we’re also well-versed on protecting ourselves. Here’s a resource and reminder how to help our patients protect themselves.
So what can you do today and beyond to help change the world’s HIV/AIDS burden? Educate yourself, educate your patients, dispel common myths, or join a HIV/AIDS cause such as Grassroot Soccer or World Vision and contribute your awesome nursing expertise and altruism to the people of the world. You could also even test out one of my favorite social-media campaign stories of the year – MTV’s and Foursquare’s GTY (Get Yourself Tested) Campaign, which aims to squash social stigma of HIV testing utilizing geo-location services.