December 1 marks World AIDS Day, a global initiative that acknowledges the progress made in AIDS treatment and prevention. This year the theme is "Leadership. Commitment. Impact." It encourages "leaders to strengthen their commitment to using evidence-based HIV interventions, prevention tools, and testing efforts to help us stop HIV."
According to the CDC, about 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. Globally, that number jumps to 36.7 million, with two-thirds of new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Prevention efforts have made strides worldwide, including CDC programs that:
- Scale up the use of antiretroviral treatment among people living with HIV
- Strengthen local governments' ability to provide effective, sustainable HIV services
- Deliver the most effective prevention tools to those at high risk for HIV infection
- Use data to reach high-risk groups, inform public health policies and strategies, and measure the impact
In the U.S. new diagnoses are declining in some populations. The CDC reports that from 2005 to 2014, the number of new cases "fell 19%...with large declines among heterosexuals and persons who inject drugs (PWID). Gay and bisexual men continue to be the most affected population, accounting for two-thirds of new diagnoses." Prevention, of course, is a huge focus. As such, the CDC works with partners to focus efforts on at-risk populations, with activities like:
- Providing funding and technical assistance to health departments and community-based organizations
- Conducting HIV surveillance and prevention research
- Developing guidelines for HIV treatment, prevention, surveillance, and laboratory procedures
- Evaluating prevention programs
- Providing training and capacity building assistance in HIV prevention interventions and strategies
- Focusing attention on HIV in the United States through Act Against AIDS communications campaigns, including Let's Stop HIV Together, Doing It, Start Talking. Stop HIV, and HIV Treatment Works
Please join us in recognizing the importance of World AIDS Day and the work we all still need to do to eradicate HIV/AIDS worldwide.