People around the world are raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS global epidemic which has killed over 575,000 citizens in three decades and infects more than 56,000 people in America each year. The infection has claimed over 30 million lives globally since the virus was first reported in 1981.
The United Nations AIDS agency released their annual report on the virus’ progress and found that the global epidemic has hit a plateau—2.7 million people have been infected each year for the past five years. According to the report, in Eastern Europe and Central Asia the total number of people living with HIV has risen 250% from 2001 to 2010.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “”Leading with Science, Uniting with Action,” which serves to highlight the successes in HIV/AIDS prevention over the last year. The phrase also re-establishes a commitment to working together with other countries in order to combat this viral threat. In 2010, Secretary Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration issued the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) for the United States which establishes an admirable and inclusive goal:
“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free of stigma and discrimination.”
Today, President Obama spoke at George Washington University during their World AIDS Day event, announcing the allotment of $50 million in existing federal funds to fight HIV/AIDS and established a new goal, aiming to treat 6 million infected people with medication by the end of 2013. “The fight isn’t over,” President Obama said. “Not for the 1.2 million Americans who are living with HIV right now. Not for the Americans who are infected every day. This fight isn’t over for them. It isn’t over for their families. It isn’t over for anyone in this room. And it certainly isn’t over for your President.”
Take Action: For more information on what you can do to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, visit the World AIDS Day federal website. You can also find the U.N.AIDS annual report here, and watch a moving documentary called 30 Years From Here which details the evolution of this global epidemic.