READ about Piers Morgan's long career in journalism here.
Over the past 30 years, no four letters have been as polarizing or as resonant as AIDS. 30 years have passed since the first AIDS case and currently 1.1 million people in the United States and an estimated 33.3 million people worldwide live with the disease. In its relatively short period of existence, AIDS has caused some of the most dramatic and heart wrenching moments collected and has been a controversial force in societal mores from its initial recognition.
Today, Thursday, December 1, 2011 is World AIDS Day. As we reflect on how far we have come in battling the disease medically and how we perceive the disease socially, how far do we need to go?
Piers Morgan talked to NBA Hall of Fame inductee Ervin "Magic" Johnson Monday, who is experiencing his own 20 year anniversary with HIV. Johnson, among others living with HIV, is fortunate to have the medical resources developed to battle the disease. Though there are medical resources available there is still work to be done in providing treatment to people who are not currently receiving treatment.
Since the early days of AIDS, activism has been the strongest force in the agent of change for the disease from Cleve Jones and the production of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to Bono and his ONE and Product(RED) campaigns to students on college campuses around the country voicing opinions, organizing walks, or conducting phone-ins to make sure that the disease is on the minds of the general public. AIDS is as much a part of the consciousness of society as it is a part of pop culture. Nonetheless, amidst all of the media attention and star power surrounding AIDS, one must be careful not to make the disease a caricature of itself and dilute the true purpose of advocacy. If we continue to progress positively as we have in the past 30 years, there is no reason why the slogan of this year's World AIDS Day "Getting to Zero" cannot truly become a reality.