World AIDS Day is observed in Rehoboth

World AIDS Day was observed Dec. 1 with a walk from the Bandstand to All Saint's Episcopal Church on Olive Avenue for a service of remembrance and hope. Shown carrying the AIDS Day banner are (l-r) Laura Simon, Allen Jarmon, Ward Ellinger and Sharyn Warwick. BY DAN COOK
December 13, 2013

CAMP Rehoboth recognized World AIDS Day with a candlelight walk and a service of remembrance and hope Dec. 1. World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world and has become one of the most recognized international health days. It provides an opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have died, and celebrate victories such as better understanding of the disease and increased access to treatment.

The global theme of World AIDS Day is “Getting to Zero,” which refers to the goal of reducing the incidence of the disease to zero. Locally, CAMP Rehoboth is using the theme “A Light in the Dark” to focus attention on global and local stories.

More than 25 million people died of AIDS between 1981 and 2007, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. The disease is caused by human immunodeficiency virus, which attacks the body’s immune system. AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Thanks to scientific advancements, people with HIV can now live longer before they develop AIDS; however, many people still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV.

“Part of World AIDS Day has to be remembering persons we lost to the disease,” says Glen Pruitt, local events co-chair. “We honor their memory. We celebrate who they were as individuals. However, remembering them also reminds us of how far we have come in dealing with HIV/AIDS, and it challenges us to work even harder until we live in a world with no new HIV infections, in a world with a cure for AIDS.”