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Celebs, doctors urge testing on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2010 2:51:07 PM PST
The resounding message on this 7th Annual World AIDS day: there is much to be thankful for, but still much work to be done.

In Sydney, Australia, where landmarks were flooded in red light as part of a global campaign to fight AIDS, U2 Front man and AIDS activist Bono took that hope one step further.

"We will definitely by 2015 see the first HIV-free generation in 30 years. We will do that. It's an achievable goal," said Bono.

"There is a hope, a hope in continuing the work that is making such a big difference around the world," said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

According to the UN, new HIV infections have declined by almost 20 percent worldwide over the past decade. However, the estimated number of children living with HIV or AIDS in 11 Asian countries has increased by 46 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Public health officials continue to push screening as the most effective way to combat the spread of the virus.

"For all of us South Africans, this is good, and especially for the youth," said Griffiths Gwavavu, a 36-year-old man who had just had an AIDS test.

South Africa is one of the countries hit hardest by the disease.

"It's no longer you as an individual. Look around you. Are there people you know who have not yet taken this responsibility, who are in your sphere of influence, be it your sexual partners, your workers, your associates?" said South African Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi.

Here in the U.S, fewer than half of all Americans - 45 percent - have had an AIDS test, that's even after guidelines were expanded to include routine screening.


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