December 2015 
Health Observances 

Do you know your status?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans in 2012 were infected with HIV, over 100,000 of whom did not know their status. Many new cases of HIV are among young adults and adolescents between the ages of 13-24. Homosexual men are at higher risk of contracting HIV than their heterosexual and female counterparts. Latinos and African Americans  are also at an increased risk of contracting HIV, compared to other racial and ethnic groups, accounting for  21% and 44% of HIV incidences in 2010, respectively.  

On December 1, 2015 people worldwide will band together against the spread of AIDS in recognition of  World Aids Day . Those individuals living with, or who know of someone living with HIV, will show their support and honor those who have lost the battle with HIV/AIDS. In the U.S., there are laws to protect people living with HIV from discriminatory practices, such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973  and the  Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 . This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Ryan White CARE Act, legislation that has secured funding to address the AIDS epidemic domestically and abroad. However, the stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV/AIDS. Wear  a Red Ribbon or  join the Facing AIDS initiative on December 1st to show your support. To learn more, visit, read the National HIV/AIDS Strategy  or join the conversation on Twitter, #WAD2015 For information on AIDS prevention and advocacy efforts in the Black and Hispanic communities, visit the Latino Commission on AIDS and the Black AIDS Institute

December 3, 2015 is International Day of People with Disabilities Day (IDPwD). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1 billion people world-wide experience some form of disability. People with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty, have lower levels of educational attainment, and fewer economic opportunities. Since 1992, IDPwD has supported critical issues relating to the structural supports and accommodations for persons with disabilities in society and development. The absence of these supports contribute to health disparities among people with disabilities, which IDPwD is working to address. 

This year's IDPwD theme is,  Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.  People with physical, mental and psychosocial disabilities represent a significant and growing proportion of the world's population. It is important to discourage discrimination against people with disabilities, raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an encompassing and attainable society for all. Read the World Report on Disability to learn more.

Prevent Blindness America has proclaimed December as Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the year 2010, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries throughout the United States. Over 70% of the people injured were less than 15 years of age. When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. When purchasing toys for children, consider the following:
  • Age-appropriate toys
  • Warnings labels and instructions on the box
  • Inspect all toys before purchasing
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. 
  • Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with.
  • Do NOT give children toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • Do NOT give children crayons and markers unless they are labeled "nontoxic.

It is also suggested that children wear the proper eye protection (face shields, helmets, eyeguards) when handling toys that pose a risk of harm or injury. Toys should not have sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily. For more information, visit Prevent Blindness.

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HPRC, a CTIS Inc. program, is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number #1U54MD008608-01. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.