Today is the 18th World AIDS Day.
Eighteen years ago there were 84,256 cases of HIV infection reported in the world.
Today there are 40 million.
The World AIDS Day organizers say the theme for this year is "Wise up--wear it." Wear your red ribbon as a reminder. And wear a condom.
The BBC today has an interactive map showing the impact of AIDS globally.
Sub-Saharan Africa has 60 percent of the world's HIV/AIDS population. I found two stories from that region on the blogs today.
At the site "This is Zimbabwe" some good news--that country is pleased to report that the numbers of pregnant women infected with AIDS has dropped dramatically thanks to education programs.
But they also say the drugs needed to treat AIDS are scarcely available. Doctors there encourage people not to take them, in case they become dependent and the supply runs out--which it will.
In Swaziland--a country where 38 percent of the population is infected with HIV--the King has canceled World AIDS Day. It apparently conflicts with a day of ritual dance he had planned.
On now to Asia. Asia has 20 percent of the world's infected people.
I found a great story at The Hindu--a website from India. The Indian government has partnered with a tech company to make educational cell phone games available. These games teach people about safe sex in a fun and user friendly way.
And back now to the west. America and Europe combined have 4 percent of the world's infected people. But in 1988, on the first World AIDS Day, the United States had over 70 percent.
That dramatic decline is due to safe sex education and the availability of the right medicine.
There was a powerful editorial in The Detroit Free Press you should read today.
It makes the point that three years ago President Bush promised $15 billion for AIDS relief globally. Apparently most of the money has gone to program from which 60 percent of the cash is for abstinence programs.
Girls sold into prostitution to earn money for food just can't "say no."
The United Nations says it will need $18 billion for treatment and prevention next year alone.
It's time to wise up.
Oh, and wear it.
On the show today: Knight Ridder is reporting that the administration paid reporters in Iraq $200 for every positive story they wrote. If true, this is potentially explosive news that further undermines the credibility of the effort there. And later, a look at the death penalty in America.