HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is what causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The virus cannot replicate on its own. Instead, it invades the CD4 cells of the immune system. Your immune system works to fend off viruses and infections. HIV replicates itself inside of the CD4 cells and once it completes the task, those cells die -- leaving the immune system defenseless. When the number of CD4 cells drops to a certain level, a person then has AIDS.
Although researchers have made great strides in recent years with drugs like antiretroviral medications (which suppresses the virus), there is still no cure. There is no vaccine. There is still a lot that we don't know about the disease. Your best defense against HIV is to educate yourself with knowledge and means of prevention.
In 2009, 2.6 million people have been diagnosed with HIV and there are roughly 33.3 million people who have the virus. Among those 33.3 million, many already have full blown AIDS. Since AIDS was identified in 1981, more than 25 million people have died.
Global HIV / AIDS statistics from the end of 2009:
How the beauty community can help:
The MAC AIDS Fund had raised over $190 million for the cause. The Viva Glam campaign is the backbone of their fund. Every cent of profit from the lipsticks and lipglasses ($14 USD) are donated to those who are affected by HIV / AIDS. Here's a breakdown of what ONE lipstick provides:
- 23 female condoms or 233 male condoms
- 18 personalized birthday cakes to be hand delivered to a person living with HIV / AIDS on their birthday
- 14 blood glucose monitoring strips
- 8 individually tailored, nutritious home-cooked meals
- 2 emergency boxes filled with non-perishable food
- 2 hours of childcare for a woman's children during her doctor appointments
- 1 personal nutrition counselling session with a registered dietitian
- 1 week's supply of groceries for 2 clients
- 1 Maxi-Pharmadose medication organizer
- 1 therapeutic recreation session
- 1 rapid oral HIV test
- 1 pair of school shoes for a child orphaned by AIDS
- 1 party pack for a child's Christmas, Easter, or Birthday
- 1 month of public transportation for a woman to travel to and from doctor's appointments
- 1 school stationary starter pack for a child orphaned by AIDS
- 1 vegetable seed starter pack for a community garden
So, when you purchase a Viva Glam lipstick or lipglass, perhaps a Sir Teddy or Viva Glam bag, remember the the cause behind it and remember how your purchase helps to further those affected by the disease.
Sites of Interest: