World AIDS Day: Raising awareness about the disease

Posted at 12:52 PM, Nov 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 08:55:14-05

SAN DIEGO -- People around the world will gather Thursday to recognize World AIDS Day and help raise awareness about the disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global HIV epidemic claimed fewer lives in 2015 than at any point in almost 20 years. They cite prevention programs that have reduced the number of new HIV infections and a massive expansion of antiretroviral therapy that has reduced the number of people dying of HIV-related causes.

Still, according to WHO, it remains a major global public health issue. So far, it's claimed more than 35 million lives. Here are some more key facts, courtesy of WHO:
  • In 2015, 1.1 (940 000–1.3 million) million people died from HIV-related causes globally.
  • There were approximately 36.7 (34.0–39.8) million people living with HIV at the end of 2015 with 2.1 (1.8–2.4) million people becoming newly infected with HIV in 2015 globally.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with 25.6 (23.1–28.5) million people living with HIV in 2015. Also sub-Saharan Africa accounts for two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.
  • HIV infection is often diagnosed through rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), which detect the presence or absence of HIV antibodies. Most often these tests provide same-day test results; essential for same day diagnosis and early treatment and care.
  • There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus and help prevent transmission so that people with HIV, and those at substantial risk, can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.
  • It is estimated that currently only 60% of people with HIV know their status. The remaining 40% or over 14 million people need to access HIV testing services. By mid-2016, 18.2 (16.1–19.0) million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, new HIV infections fell by 35%, AIDS-related deaths fell by 28% with some 8 million lives saved. This achievement was the result of great efforts by national HIV programs supported by civil society and a range of development partners.
  • Expanding ART to all people living with HIV and expanding prevention choices can help avert 21 million AIDS-related deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030.

25th Annual Tree of Life Ceremony
Each year, Mama's Kitchen and Village Hillcrest commemorate World AIDS Day by recognizing and remembering those affected by AIDS, as well as the ongoing leadership efforts made to end the epidemic. It is an evening of special memories, singing and sharing, and a candle lighting to honor those affected by AIDS. 
UC San Diego Honors World AIDS Day
The University of California, San Diego will honor World AIDS Day all week with a variety of free, public events, including a viewing of portions of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.