According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization, the global number of HIV/AIDS cases is 33.3 million, of which 15.9 million are women and 2.5 are children. Almost 2 million people die from the disease every year. Dec. 1 is the internationally recognized day to raise awareness and remember those killed by the deadly virus and so for the occasion, here are a few innovative organizations to check out and ways to get involved.
One Love Project
Rena Greifinger from the Harvard School of Public Health launched the innovative One Love Project to help teens born with or affected by HIV to keep their lives on track. In its second year of running now, Greifinger has been able to gather a small group of Boston-based HIV-positive teens each year to spend a few days together in a stigma-free environment, share experiences and resources, and strategize ways to support other teens with HIV. Check out ways to get involved or simply donate.
Alicia Keys' Keep a Child Alive Campaign
Alicia Keys started the Keep a Child Alive Foundation in order to fight poverty and disease, with a focus on children. She and a number of celebrities have teamed up for a "digital life sacrifice" experiment where the likes of Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian will not sign onto any social network, including Twitter, until fans collectively donate $1 million dollars. All you have to do to participate is text the name of your favorite participating celebrity to 90999 and $10 dollars will be instantly donated to the cause.
Partners in Health
The organization founded by Paul Farmer and Jim Kim has a history of innovating around a number of health issues, particularly in Haiti, where they got their start. When the Haiti earthquake crisis erupted, PIH was recognized as one of the safest and most reliable organizations to donate to. Still operating in Haiti, where HIV/AIDS is a strong focus of their work, donations are welcome on their website.
YouthAIDS, an initiative of health communication pioneer Population Services International, was started by Kate Roberts, a former advertising executive who has since amassed vast celebrity participation in cause marekting campaigns to raise awareness and donations to fight the HIV epidemic. You may recall the Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil Campaign with ALDO, starring Ludacris and Avril Lavigne or the Roberto Coin jewelry ads with Christy Turlington, all of which channeled funds to the cause. Check out retailers and other ways to support YouthAIDS.
Mercy Corps doesn't shy away from taking new approaches to international crises and their work in HIV ranges from healthcare services to microcredit to sports. They've even got HIV/AIDS awareness kits available for sale to help communities better prepare for and understand the epidemic. But as with most non-profits, donations are the primary need, and volunteering is always a great option as well.
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