How are you supporting World AIDS Day?

APHA facing AIDS 13

APHA staff share messages on how they are facing AIDS in recognition of World AIDS Day, a Dec. 1 annual observance. Photo courtesy of APHA’s Flickr photostream

For the 34 million people living with HIV, Dec. 1 means more than honoring lives already lost to one of the deadliest pandemics in history. World AIDS Day is about preventing and ultimately eradicating AIDS, and building off the health achievements that are already bringing us closer.

All UN member states are honoring the 26th annual observance by promoting the red ribbon — the global symbol of support for HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS. All around the world organizations are hosting events Dec. 1 to honor HIV/AIDS awareness including concerts, Twitter chats and fundraisers.

In the U.S., more people are being tested for HIV than ever before and there are more tools — including antiretroviral therapy — to effectively prevent HIV than ever before, according to CDC. Additionally the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported progress towards accomplishing all three goals outlined in the first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy: reducing new HIV infections, optimizing treatment outcomes for people living with HIV, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

However, there are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and more than 18 percent of those don’t know they have it. According to U.S. statistics from AIDS.gov and amFAR, a foundation for AIDS Research:

  • One in four new HIV infections in the is among youth ages 13-24, while most of them do not know they are infected;
  • African Americans accounted for 47 percent of new HIV infections diagnosed in 2011, despite comprising only 14 percent of the population; and
  • in 2011, more than 20 percent of people diagnosed with HIV were women.

This year’s World AIDS Day theme is “Shared responsibility: Strengthening results for an AIDS-free generation.” Find out where you can get an HIV test at AIDS.gov.