If you’ve made a trip or two around the internet this morning, you probably know that it’s World AIDS Day. Though we’ll see a great deal of focus today on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the third world, we want to take a moment to remember the folks living with the disease right here in Nashville.
There are plenty of ways to help out around Middle Tennessee. Keep an eye out for 2010′s Dining Out for Life event and help your favorite restaurants give back. Get a team together and join up with the Nashville AIDS Walk. Spend an evening with Artrageous. For year-round opportunities to volunteer and donate, check out Nashville CARES–a local organization that provides support for Nashvillians living with HIV/AIDS, community education, and advocacy. And finally, know the facts:
- As of December 2007, almost 7,500 Middle Tennesseans have been reported with AIDS or HIV infection since the epidemic began. This represents 35% of the 21,400 Tennesseans diagnosed statewide.
- About 5,100 Middle Tennesseans are currently living with HIV or AIDS (69% of diagnosed).
- These are diagnosed individuals; experts believe that another 20% are HIV-infected but do not know it. (Total = 6,100.)
- Although the majority (72%) live in Davidson County, cases have been reported in every county in the region (and the state).
- About 300-370 new cases of HIV and AIDS are reported for Middle Tennessee annually.
- Women are 20% of new HIV infections in Middle Tennessee and 28% of new HIV infections in the Nashville MSA.
- 18% of new HIV infections are among teenagers or youth under age 25.
- Older Middle Tennesseans are not immune. About 5% of new HIV infections are among people age 55 or older.
- Unsafe sexual behavior (both homosexual and heterosexual) are the main transmission factors, accounting for 70%+ of new infections.
- Although people with HIV/AIDS are living longer, last year someone in Middle Tennessee still died from AIDS every 4-5 days.
Data provided by the Tennessee Department of Health. Compiled by Nashville CARES.
Photo by burningkarma.