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World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
Over 101,600 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK over 4,300 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”.
Communities make an invaluable contribution to the AIDS response. Communities of people living with HIV, of key populations—gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people and prisoners—and of women and young people lead and support the delivery of HIV services, defend human rights, support their peers. Communities are the lifeblood of an effective AIDS response and an important pillar of support.
For more information visit the World AIDS Day website.