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World AIDS Day Statement from the NYSYD Women’s Caucus, LGBT Caucus and Caucus of Color

In observance of World AIDS Day, the Women’s Caucus, LGBT Caucus and the Caucus of Color, are joining together to ask all New York State Young Democrats to take a moment to remember the countless individuals and families who have been effected by HIV/AIDS and to be a leader in the struggle to cure and stop the spread of this disease.

Started in 1988 by the World Health Organization, December 1st marks a day each year when the world stops to reflect on the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in our local communities and throughout the world. This year, the World Health Organization is stressing the importance of Universal Access and Human Rights, a theme that the New York State Young Democrats enthusiastically support.

In 2006, a United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS stated that, the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative said in its 2009 Global Community Health Statement, Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against people living with HIV and AIDS and other marginalized populations continue to be some of the greatest barriers to effectively addressing the epidemic.

More recently, the global community has made tremendous strides. Thanks to anti-viral drugs individuals with HIV/AIDS are living longer, fuller lives. However, HIV/AIDS is still a serious disease.

Did You Know?

  • Everyday 7,397 people contract HIV. That’s 308 people per hour.
  • In 2007, 2.0 million people died from AIDS.
  • A total of 33 million people now live with HIV/AIDS. Two million of them are under the age of 15.
  • Worldwide, women make up half of all people living with HIV. The number of women living with HIV in the U.S. has tripled in the last two decades; by 2005, 26% of people living with HIV were women.
  • There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
  • African Americans accounted for 46% of new HIV infections diagnosed in 2006, although they comprise only 12% of the population.
  • HIV can be spread through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
  • Consistent and correct use of latex condoms is highly effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

In New York:

  • As of December 2008, nearly 40,000 individuals were living with HIV/AIDS in New York City.
  • 15,000 of those NYC residents are under the age of 40.
  • In 2008, over 125,000 people were effected by HIV/AIDS
  • County by county (not including NYC), the highest populations of individuals with HIV/AIDS were Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau, Erie and Albany Counties. All of these counties either have or are very close in proximity to urban centers.

Call to Action: Help the NYS Young Democrats bring awareness today. Change your Facebook Status to:

Today is World AIDS Day. The full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is an essential element in the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 2006 UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Get tested, know your status, help fund HIV/AIDS research, and make a promise to protect the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the world.

For more information regarding World AIDS Day and to locate events around the world, check out:

The following places are just a few of the locations where you can get tested:

NYC Department of Health Free Clinics
Planned Parenthood of NYC

Community Health Action of Staten Island


World AIDS Day Related Events:

Light for Rights New York City Event
Washington Square Park, New York, NY
12/01 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Kenneth Cole, Liza Minnelli, and others will help mark New York’s World AIDS Day event in Washington Square Park by turning off the lights on the fabled Washington Square Park Arch before turning them back on. This event is just one place in New York marking Light for Rights; other participating venues include the Brooklyn Bridge; the New York Stock Exchange; Madison Square Garden; Carnegie Hall; Museum of Modern Art; Washington Square Park Arch; the Beacon Theatre; Radio City Music Hall; the Apollo Theater; and 40 Broadway theaters

For more information about the Lights for Rights campaign, check out:

Free HIV Testing
Union Square, New York, NY
12/01 9:00am – 2:00pm

NYC‘s Planned Parenthood Activist Council is partnering with MTV and providing free testing in Union Square. They will also be handing out condoms and palm cards encouraging folks to get tested right then and there. MTV will be shooting video throughout the morning. Interested in volunteering?
Email, for exact details.
GMHC‘s Calendar of Community Events

Other Noteworthy Links:

NYS Division of Human Rights
Find out where you can pick up free condoms from the New York City Department of Health

NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence on the Correlation Between Domestic Violence and a Greater Risk for contracting HIV/AIDS

We hope you’ll join us in taking a moment to get tested, protect the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, and help fund research for a cure. Knowledge is power in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In Solidarity,

Julienne Verdi
Women’s Caucus

Ben Murphy
LGBT Caucus

Joshua Waters
Caucus of Color