Today (Thursday) is World AIDS Day and events underway in Iowa are designed to help educate people about the myths and truths of the potential killer disease. Summer Elgin is the education coordinator for the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross. She says HIV and AIDS -are- prevalent in Iowa and people here have the virus and the disease.

Elgin says she tells high schoolers during her talks that education is the best prevention for AIDS. Elgin says this year’s theme is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise” and it’s aimed at governments and policy makers. She says the intention is to establish an international campaign to hold leaders accountable for their promises and commitments and take the action necessary to deliver on them.

Elgin says some Iowa policymakers are very well-educated about the AIDS plight but many others are not. She says the numbers are staggering and a statewide survey was done as recently as September 30th. She says globally, there are about 40-million people living with HIV and nearly five-million people were diagnosed with HIV in 2005. So far this year, more than three-million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses. In Iowa, just over 13-hundred cases of AIDS have been reported through September. 836 Iowans have died from it.