World AIDS Day

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Today is World AIDS Day and, having spent this past summer in Uganda where I volunteered with an indigenous HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, AIDS awareness has particular resonance for me this year. Aside from listening to motivational speakers in the United States, I'd never had close contact with HIV-infected people before, nor had I been in an environment in which HIV/AIDS was mentioned as frequently as the common cold. It was not unusual for a Ugandan to walk into the tiny office where I volunteered and matter-of-factly identify herself as a "PWA" (person with AIDS). Often, she would ask about HIV/AIDS resources to help educate her family, friends, co-workers, or children.

Not surprisingly, a number of American Jewish women have been deeply involved in HIV/AIDS activism. Mathilde Krim and Abby Shevitz devoted their lives to HIV/AIDS research and have engaged in advocacy efforts for the rights of those affected by the disease. Learn about Mathilde Krim in This Day in History and about Abby Shevitz in Women Who Dared.

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