World AIDS Day

1st Dec 2011
Written by: Mary Short

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, a day in which people unite in the fight against HIV / AIDS and a day in which people commemorate those who have died.

More than 90,000 people are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 33.3 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

For those of you looking to make a difference on your gap year, Projects Abroad are looking for volunteers to help out in a new facility for orphans living with HIV / AIDS in Jamaica.

“There are an estimated 20,000 children affected by HIV / AIDS in Jamaica, and about 5,000 of them are orphans,” said Harry Kent, programme advisor for Projects Abroad.

“We’ve teamed up with the Australian charity, BridgIT Water Foundation, to help improve the quality of life for AIDS orphans in Mandeville, Jamaica.” explained Mr Kent.

The new state-of-the-art facility is designed to house up to 40 children and Projects Abroad are keen to support in the fight against HIV / AIDS.

“Without this care centre the children would be left to either survive on their own, left with family members where they would suffer physical and/or psychological abuse, or moved to homes far away from their familiar surroundings.” said Mr Kent.

Projects Abroad offer a number of volunteering placements in HIV / AIDS programmes. One programme in Mongolia has organised an ‘Against AIDS’ concert staring local celebrities and volunteers to raise awareness and educate people on HIV.

World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away; there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

Have you ever volunteered in an HIV / AIDS centre on your gap year? What are you doing for World AIDS Day?

For more information on volunteering with Projects Abroad then go to our volunteering section.

Photo supplied by Projects Abroad.

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