Today is World AIDS Day.

My experience with HIV and AIDS is mostly through TV.  Watching The Real World: San Francisco,  and seeing Pedro’s life made a big difference in my understanding of the disease.  So did Philadelphia.  

More recently I picked up the graphic novel Pedro & Me – Judd Winick  up and wes reminded of how powerful watching Pedro’s life on MTV was in my High School days.

But I was an adult, well out of college before I personally knew someone who was open about their HIV infection.  I had picked a friend up from his house, he was sitting in the front seat of my car, we were heading to church, when he told me.  I think that I was cool when I heard it, but when I got home that night I sent multiple text messages to my best friend to help me process the fact that I now had a personal connection to the HIV virus.  This wasn’t a disease that was limited to the East and West Coast of the United States, or characters on TV shows, or desperately poor people in Africa, this was a disease that was impacting my life, he was my friend and he was sitting in my car.

HIV is still a problem in Minnesota

The following are some key statistics and talking points on HIV in Minnesota.

  • In 2010, 331 new cases of HIV were reported in Minnesota.
  • The Minnesota AIDS Project, the leading source for HIV information and services in Minnesota, believes that these data underscore its view that HIV prevention and education is at a critical point if we are to stop the increase in new cases.
  • A new case of HIV disease is reported in Minnesota nearly every day.
  • To date, 9,493 cases of HIV disease have been reported in Minnesota since 1982.
  • As of December 31, 2010, 6,814 people are known to be living with the HIV virus in Minnesota.
  • In the past year, 86% of new HIV cases were reported in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
  • 22% of new HIV cases of adult and adolescent in Minnesota are among African Americans, who represent just over three percent of the state’s population.
  • Since 2001, there has been a steady increase in new cases occurring within the population of young gay and bisexual men (under the age of 24). In 2010, they represented 20% of newly reported cases.

So today, I’m making a donation to the Minnesota AIDS project.  And I’m going to check out the ONEcampaign “Beginning of the End of AIDS” on youtube when I get home tonight.