“Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”

       Every minute five people die from AIDS. Today, as we recognize World AIDS Day 2005, 1,520 more people will die from this disease.

        Every Dec.1 since 1998, the world has paid its respects to the millions of people who have died from this global pandemic. World AIDS Day was created after 140 countries met at the World Summit of Ministers of Health on AIDS in London in January 1988.

        This year’s W.A.D. theme is “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”Although, there is a myriad of anti-viral medications and a plethora of HIV/AIDS awareness programs available, one would believe that the disheartening statistics concerning new infections and deaths of the disease were on the decline. However, the number of new infections rose to a record high 4.9 million.

        In the Black community the AIDS story continues to grow bleak. African Americans now account for 54 percent of annual new infections while making up only 13 percent of the population. Black woman alone make up 72 percent of all new AIDS cases in the U.S. And more than 60 percent of the 40 million people living with AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

        "World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remind people that the AIDS epidemic is not over, that we still face a tremendous local, national and global crisis,” said Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, interim executive director of Whitman-Walker Clinic.

        The Whitman-Walker Clinic is a non-profit community-based health organization serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. The clinic is comprised of diverse volunteers and staff who provide or facilitate the delivery of high quality, comprehensive, accessible health care and community services. Whitman-Walker Clinic is especially committed to ending the suffering of all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

        ”We will use this day to ask the leaders of our community and our nation to help us stop the frightening spread of HIV in our region. In the District of Columbia, an estimated one in 20 adults has HIV and one in 50 has full-blown AIDS. This is tragic, and it means we cannot let down our guard,” Antoniotti continued.

        Dr. Peter Piot, the executive director of UNAIDS feels that HIV/AIDS is preventable. He said, "AIDS is a problem with a solution,” something for all of us to remember.