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Today is World AIDS Day and every year, on this same day, the entire world takes the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, showing their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died.

Since 1988, exactly 26 years today, over 36 million people have died as a result of HIV/AIDS. From young children, to the very elderly, Black, White, Male or Female, Gay or Straight, Rich or Poor, HIV is a virus that does not discriminate. We have lost famous actors and singers, doctors and nurses, religious leaders, family members, and friends who have left an empty space in our hearts. But at the same time we have met brave people who wake up every morning just to go to work and fight against HIV in the form of testing, educating, or by simply taking their HIV medications. We have met people that despite of living with HIV/AIDS they continue to live their lives to the fullest and continue to make their dreams a reality. Yes we have lost 36 million people to HIV/AIDS, but we also have over 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS. That means we have 35 million reasons to continue the fight. We have 35 million reasons to come together as a world and help put an end to HIV infections. That “End” can start with you. EDUCATE yourself on what HIV is and how it is spread. SHARE what you have learned with your family and friends. CRUSH the stigma that goes along with having HIV or knowing someone living with HIV. VOLUNTEER at any local AIDS organization because your help is needed. COMMIT to wearing a condom each and every time you have sex with a partner of unknown HIV status. PRAY for those who are living with HIV/AIDS and for those who have lost the battle. Finally, LOVE one another and never lose HOPE. This December 1, 2014 we observe World AIDS Day 2014. Don’t stay behind. Join the fight, learn as much as you can, get tested for HIV, but most importantly remember that the “End” can start with you.

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