It’s been 30 years since scientists discovered HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the height of the American AIDS epidemic in the 1980's and early 1990's, an HIV positive diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. Today, advances in treatment have greatly improved outcomes for people living with HIV, but the pandemic is far from over. We still have around 800 new infections every year in Michigan alone.
Today is National HIV Testing Day. Across Michigan this weekend there will be events and opportunities for free HIV tests, including Ingham County, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the state.
Today on Current State: Lansing's 'Marketplace Project'; HIV in Ingham County; what deregulation could mean for Michigan; environmental changes effect on Isle Royale; and a review of "The Ocean at the End of the Lane".
One of the vendors at the Great Lakes Folk Festival is the Nyaka AIDS Orphans project. The organization offers paper-bead necklaces and traditional baskets from Uganda. The artists who created them are grandmothers in Nyaka who use the income to support the families affected by the disease.
Jackson Kaguri is the founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans project. He was a CNN Hero last year, was featured in Time Magazine in 2010, and is the author of the book, “The Price of Stones,” about building a school for AIDS orphans in his village in Uganda.
Last Thursday, a group of activists, community leaders and bloggers announced a new social media initiative called the “Test Me” project. It takes place today, which is National HIV Testing Day. The “Test Me” project calls for people all across the country to get tested for HIV, and then share their photos and experiences all throughout Twitter, Facebook and social media with the hashtag #TestMe.