December 1 is World AIDS Day. Since 1988, this day has served as a global opportunity to bring awareness and attention to the ongoing fight against AIDS, to remember those who have died, and to support people living with AIDS. New Direction Family Law would like to acknowledge this day, urge you to wear a red ribbon, and to encourage you to learn more about AIDS and the fight against AIDS.
What is HIV/AIDS?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (or HIV) is a virus that attacks and compromises a person’s immune system, which leaves the person more susceptible to infections and diseases, since the person’s body struggles to defend itself. If caught early enough, there are treatments available that can allow people living with HIV to lead a full, healthy life. Experts agree that the key is getting regularly tested. If untreated, it is estimated that the immune system will shut down entirely within 10 to 15 years.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (or AIDS) is a set of symptoms that develops when a person’s immune system has become weakened by HIV. AIDS is a syndrome, not a virus. In effect, it is the last stage of HIV, where the immune system has been completely compromised.
HIV and AIDS Statistics
Since the epidemic began in the early 1980s, 1,216,917 people have received a diagnosis in the United States. Globally, an estimated 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses in total. Although there have been significant advancements in treatments and awareness, there is still no cure. The Center for Disease Control maintains statistics on diseases and estimates that over 18,303 people received an AIDS diagnosis in 2015.
In North Carolina, as of 2014, there were an estimated 28,897 living with an HIV diagnosis. In 2015, there were an additional 1,335 people diagnosed with HIV in the state. It is estimated that over 20% of those diagnosed with HIV will also be diagnosed with AIDS within three months of the HIV diagnosis.
Support People Living With AIDS
Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina, based in Raleigh, provides “compassionate non-judgmental support, education, and care for the prevention of HIV/AIDS/STI.” They fulfill this mission by offering free and confidential testing in Raleigh, Durham, Johnston County, and Franklin County. In addition, the organization offers case management services and education for people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as a food pantry. If you are interested in getting involved, the Alliance has volunteer opportunities and always appreciates donations. The Alliance also has numerous fundraisers throughout the year, including the “AIDS Walk & 5K Run”, “Red Ribbon Ride” Run, Bingo events, and a Red Ribbon Ball.
NC AIDS Action Network operates with a purpose of helping people living with HIV/AIDS, or who are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, to have access to essential health care and treatment. They do so through advocacy and community organizing. The organization seeks both volunteers and donations.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law provides legal representation in family law matters, including separations, divorces, property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. If you need assistance with a divorce or custody dispute, contact our office today. Our experienced legal team will provide you with thoughtful, relevant legal advice and fight for your legal rights. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Contact our team today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law