Be the Cause

Facts About AIDS

I found this fact sheet on the web recently. Since so much of this service vacation in South Africa involves helping children who have become orphans because of the AIDS pandemic, I thought the facts and figures would help raise awareness that AIDS is still rampant and tragically affecting so many lives there and around the world. Reading these facts, and looking at the number of deaths from AIDS, made me realize, even sitting here, I need to do something to help these people and countries that do not have access to the health care we have in the U.S.

HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet – The Global Pandemic*

Approximately 2,000 children worldwide are infected with HIV each day. Over 90 percent of these children were infected through mother-to-child transmission.AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

In 2003, five million (4.2-5.8 million) people were newly infected with HIV – 700,000 (590,000 – 810,000) of them were children. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

Approximately 40 million (34-46 million) people are infected with HIV worldwide – 2.5 million (2.1- 2.9 million) of them are children.
AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

In some parts of Africa, more than 60 percent of women aged 15-49 do not know that HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her child.
“No time to be young in a world with AIDS” — A poster produced jointly by UNAIDS and UNICEF, 2002

Infants can become infected during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. 15-20 percent of infant infections occur in pregnancy, 50 percent during labor and delivery, and the remaining 33 percent of infant infections occur while breastfeeding. A UNICEF fact sheet/ Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV- February 2002

In industrialized nations, research and effective intervention have drastically reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV to less than two percent. If we act now, thousands of children’s lives in the developing world can be saved by using proven low-cost interventions.
AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2002 UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

In 2003, three million (2.5-3.5 million) people died of AIDS – 500,000 (420,000-580,000) of them were children. This amounts to approximately 1,400 children’s deaths from AIDS per day. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

Every day an average of 6,000 – 7,000 young people become infected with HIV; that translates to about four to five infections every minute.
United Nations/DESA/Gateway to Social Policy & Development: World Youth Report 2003: The Global Situation of Young People

Worldwide, about 50 percent of all new HIV infections occur among young people 15-24 years-old. Young people and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in Crises: A joint report by UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO

Women now account for 50 percent of all the number of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

More than 13.1 million children around the world have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic since it began, and that number is expected to reach more than 25 million by 2010. Children on the Brink 2002: A Joint UNICEF/UNAIDS/USAID Report on Orphan Estimates and Program Strategies

In the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, researchers vastly underestimated the impact the disease would have. They originally predicted that the annual number of deaths from AIDS would peak at 1.7 million in 2006.
United Nations/DESA/Gateway to Social Policy & Development: World Youth Report 2003: The Global Situation of Young People

It is estimated that an additional 45 million people will become infected with HIV by 2010 unless the world drastically expands global prevention efforts. Report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic: December 2002 UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

More than 95 percent of people with HIV live in the developing world. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

The material in this fact sheet was last updated in May 2004. For more information call Chris Hudnall at (310) 314-1459 or visit the Web site at

The estimates for this fact sheet were compiled with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

*Please note that the ranges around the estimates in the facts for Global Pandemic define the
boundaries within which the actual numbers lie based on the best available information. These ranges are more precise than those of previous years, and work is under way to increase even further the precision of the estimates.

Random Act of Kindness

On Saturday we held a compassion cell event called Random Acts of Kindness Day. About 20 volunteers who participated in this event formed quickly into four smaller teams all armed with their kindness assignments. Two teams were assigned the job of handing out bottles of waters and packets of snacks at parks in Brea and Orange, another team was assigned the job of helping grocery store shoppers with their carts of food and my group was assigned washing car windows in Newport Beach. We headed to our car equipped with the necessary tools of Windex, paper towels, kindness and of course SMILE cards.

We drove off winding down the 55 onto the Pacific Coast Highway and decided upon a Chevron station near Fashion Island. As cars pulled in we realized this might be a little more difficult than we had anticipated, at least half the cars entering the station were spotlessly clean. Offering to clean the windows of these cars was pointless. So we decided to hand out the smile cards to those who had clean windows and we washed the windows and passed out smile cards to the cars in need of a window cleaning. One of our first customers was a light blue, mini, euro car filled with four passengers. After extending the offer to wash the windows of this car the woman driver’s face lit up with a lovely smile and she answered, “yes that would be wonderful!” She told me her passengers were all visiting from Europe. I handed three more smile cards to her and asked her to explain the task of passing the kindness on. She grinned again, thanked us and said she would. Quickly following this encounter, another woman pulled up and looking extremely harried, darting out of her car and quickly stepping to the back of her car. She seemed to be trying to avoid us but I approached her anyway. I asked her if she would like her windows washed, she looked up and said she was really more concerned with her tire. As we peered around the back of the car to look at the tire we realized her tire was completely flat. So Ganesh, thinking quickly on his feet, went into the small store attached to the station and bought a can of Fix a Flat. He generously offered to pump up the tire and fill it with the contents of the can so that the car could be driven safely to the tire store. In a lovely southern drawl the woman thanked him profusely and was on her way – dirty windows still but with a tire that would now get her to her destination.

This is how our task embraced us. It was so amazing our offers of simple kindness brought the warmest, brightest smiles to the people who we touched and who touched us in return. We received so many words of gratitude, which we accepted gratefully, among a few offers of money, which we quickly turned down. We asked them instead to continue to pass the kindness onto to those strangers they would meet. My team was still brimming with energy by the end of this event and when we returned to the warehouse they continued to clean the car windows of other volunteers. It was a really wonderful way to start the day and I think that the lesson learned was that in giving we receive!

I have found that among its other benefits giving liberates the soul of the giver.– Maya Angelou

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