30 Years of HIV
2011 sees the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosis of AIDS.
A US medical bulletin revealed on 5 June 1981 that five young, gay men in Los Angeles had a form of pneumonia that normally only appears in people whose immune systems have collapsed. They were the first documented cases of the HIV epidemic that was to sweep the globe.
Following these early diagnoses, there was shock in the medical community about the voracity and speed with which the virus spread.
Since then, more than 60 million people around the world have been infected with HIV and, of these, 30 million people have died.
The development of HIV treatments has changed the condition from a terminal one to a chronic, long-term condition. These anti-retroviral drugs are gradually becoming more widely available in poorer countries, however, 9 million people still have no access to treatment, something which has prompted this year’s international theme for World AIDS Day – “Getting to Zero”.
The “Getting to Zero” campaign is setting targets for zero deaths; zero new infections and zero discrimination.
Perhaps one answer on discrimination is simply to speak up and speak out; to challenge discrimination where we come across it and to help people understand the impact that stigma has on people living with HIV.
Zero new infections is undoubtedly an ambitious target but, through education and awareness raising amongst people who are living with HIV and amongst those who are not, we are surely taking a step in the right direction. At the same time efforts to find a vaccine and other bio-scientific initiatives to prevent transmission of the virus need to remain a high priority.
Support from individuals is vital to any charity. HIV/Hepatitis C is not a cause which evokes widespread sympathy, and so we are always heartened by the warmth of the letters which accompany donations and humbled by the generosity of people such as Michael and Cerin.
With no vaccine in sight and ongoing high infection rates, it is vital we find ways to continue to respond to the needs of a growing and ageing population of people living with HIV or Hepatitis C. We know that many people are not in a financial position to make charitable donations currently but would still like to contribute to the future of the organisation.
Leaving a legacy to Waverley Care provides an opportunity to do just this.
• Using a codicil form is a straightforward way to amend an existing will (we can send one to you or you can download one from our website).
• A gift to Waverley Care will be free of inheritance tax as any bequest is deducted from the value of the estate before the tax liability is calculated.
• It is a personal decision. You do not need to tell us of your plans.We benefit from very few legacies – unlike many Scottish charities. Every one we receive will hold a very special place in our heart and in the hearts of the future generations we support.
For more information please contact Karen in our Fundraising Team on 0131 556 9710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org