World AIDS Day Posted By: Liz Goodrich Date Posted: 11/22/2004 In recognition of World AIDS Day, Deschutes Public Library is pleased to welcome Susan McCreedy, MA, MPH, of Deschutes Public Health Department for a program titled “Did You Know: Women, Girls and the AIDS Crisis,” in the Brooks Room of the Bend Public Library on Wednesday, December 1, at 6:00 p.m. This program is free and open to the public. In 1988 the World Health Organization declared December 1 as World AIDS Day, an international day for awareness and education. AIDS cases in parts of the world are on the rise and the toll on the developing world is devastating. “In ten years, AIDS will have wiped out huge portions of Asia, Russia, India and Africa,” says McCreedy. Women and girls are the focus of this years UNAIDS campaign and according to McCreedy, the increase in cases among women and girls was predicted twenty years ago. “Worldwide, women and girls are 2.5 times more likely than males to become HIV infected from a single act of unprotected sex,” says McCreedy. Additionally, women and girls are impacted by AIDS because they often bare the burden of care regarding domestic work and caring for ill family members stricken by AIDS. Although AIDS Day focuses on the course of the disease world wide, McCreedy believes we have reasons to be concerned about AIDS here in Deschutes County. “Two main reasons exist why we should be concerned in Deschutes County,” says McCreedy. “First, we are way behind the time regarding knowledge and information about AIDS.” McCreedy states that HIV is totally preventable. “No matter who or how you have sex, or if you are a needle drug user, it is preventable as long as you have the right information.” The second reason is harder to combat. “Attitudes that lead to stigmas, myths and prejudice are rampant in Central Oregon,” says McCreedy. She continues that people with AIDS feel isolated and afraid and that can lead to keeping their health status to themselves due to fear of rejection. “The fear can lead to a late diagnosis.” That time wasted, when then could have been treated and their lives extended, is due to the denial, ignorance and stigmas says McCreedy. McCreedy, who has a Masters in Public Health started working in the AIDS field over twenty years ago. She is a passionate advocate for AIDS and believes that the disease is totally preventable. Don’t miss this opportunity to inform and protect yourself. For more information about this or other library programs, please call 312-1032 or visit www.dpls.lib.or.