World AIDS Day 2008 (December 1) is now less than two weeks away! Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV . In the United States, an estimated one million Americans are living with HIV.
AIDS.gov is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Blog Catalog for Bloggers Unite on World AIDS Day 2008 . This event encourages bloggers from around the world to dedicate their blog posts on December 1, 2008 (World AIDS Day) to issues related to HIV/AIDS.
Our goal is to leverage the power of the blogosphere to remind people that HIV/AIDS is still a critical issue in the U.S. and around the world, and to promote HIV testing. Jan Lipkin, NIDA’s Deputy Chief, Public Information and Liaison Branch, said “NIDA and Bloggers Unite [also] share a vision for empowering individuals to make educated decisions, and we are looking forward to reaching out to the blogging community to help us educate others on World AIDS Day and beyond.”
To learn more about uniting bloggers around social causes, we spoke with Tony Berkman, of Blog Catalog (and the founder of Bloggers Unite), and David Wessner, Associate Professor of Biology at Davidson College and founder of the AIDS Pandemic Blog . David participated in Blog Action Day (which addressed the issue of poverty) and will participate in this year’s Bloggers Unite for World AIDS Day 2008.
The Power of Bloggers
According to the blog search engine, Technorati , “blogs are powerful because they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, and millions more to read and respond.” There are nearly 113 million blogs , and an estimated 13.6 million health-related blogs . A recent study by Envision Solutions, Inc. found that nearly half of all bloggers in the U.S. wrote about health at least once last year. There is tremendous potential to reach millions of people this year with HIV/AIDS information.
Tony told us that initiatives like Bloggers Unite “nurture social media into being a proactive and positive tool to raise awareness.” He also mentioned that they’ve seen an increase in participation with each Blogger’s Unite event, “because bloggers enjoy coming together as individuals to do good.”
David said, “With an issue like poverty or HIV/AIDS, different bloggers will highlight different topics and present different points of view. As an educator, I am most excited about this aspect of the World AIDS Day project. I will encourage my students to read and consider a number of the Bloggers Unite posts. I’m sure that the ensuing discussions we have as a class will be wonderful. And, hopefully, some of the students will take action as a result of our conversations.”
Get involved: Blog or Support a Blogger
Do you have a blog? If so, we hope you’ll join us in writing about HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day on December 1. For resources to help you write your post, visit AIDS.gov or the Bloggers Unite resource page. And if you’d like more information on rates of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., please visit the CDC’s website.
If you’re not a blogger, you could ask your favorite blogger to take part, or consider starting your own blog this December 1! You can also take part by reading and commenting on World AIDS Day blog posts. We have many other new media activities for you to get involved this World AIDS Day.