Since 1991, the color red has come to represent not just hope in the fight against AIDS, but also the tragedies of death, stigma, and discrimination. That’s twenty years of unprovoked aggression against a naturally joyous color, and an entire generation. Our generation, the first to have never known a world without AIDS, has had enough. It’s time to liberate red from the tyranny of AIDS and reclaim it in the name of victory over a pandemic that’s held global health captive for 30 years. Our movement will trumpet awareness, education, prevention, and research to help eradicate the AIDS/HIV pandemic so the next generation can enjoy red in its natural, freed state. Join us.
This year marks the 30thanniversary since the first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in the United States. At that time, the disease was a death sentence, and there were no lifesaving anti-retroviral medications (ARVs) to treat the illness. Changing behavior was the only way to prevent spread of the virus. Public health interventions focused on education, practicing safer sex, syringe exchange programs for IV drug users, and ensuring an HIV free blood supply. Over the past three decades and especially in the last several years, knowledge about the disease, treatment, and prevention tools have expanded greatly, providing hope to make history — to end AIDS in the future.
Today, in the United States, there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and 615,000 people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS have died since it first emerged as an infectious disease threat. Every year, 56,000 people are infected with HIV in the United States — 13% between the ages of 13-24. Globally, there are 33 million people currently living with HIV in addition to the nearly 30 million who have died. Every day, more than 7,000 people are infected with the virus worldwide and 1.8 million deaths occur annually. Yet there has been AIDS amnesia in America: Because there are now medications that effectively fight the disease, many young people don’t worry about becoming infected with HIV in the United States and don’t get tested. In fact, 20% of all people and about 50% of adolescents who are living with HIV in the United States don’t know their status.
Be sure to follow @ReclaimRed on Twitter and we’ll keep you up to date on when submissions open, prizes, and other aspects of the contest.