World AIDS Day is celebrated each year on December 1st. It provides an opportunity to increase awareness, education and a greater understanding of HIV as a global public health issue.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the immune system—the body’s defense against diseases.
HIV stays in the body for life, but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. Without medication people with HIV can develop AIDS.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the most advanced stage of an HIV infection, when the immune system can no longer fight infections.
Someone with AIDS has both HIV and at least one of a specific list of ‘AIDS-defining’ diseases, which include tuberculosis, pneumonia and some types of cancer.
AIDS is life threatening, but if HIV is caught early and is treated, it will not lead to AIDS. If HIV is caught late, it can lead to more complications and could ultimately lead to AIDS. That is why it is so important to get tested early if you have been at risk of HIV, as it will mean that you can access treatment that will prevent you ever getting AIDS.
- 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2016)
- 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2015)
- 2.1 million [1.8 million–2.4 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2015)
- 1.1 million [940 000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses (end 2015)
- 78 million [69.5 million–87.6 million] people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic (end 2015)
- 35 million [29.6 million–40.8 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic (end 2015)
People living with HIV
- In 2015, there were 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people living with HIV.
Learn the Basics, Know the Facts, Take Care of Yourself.
Basic information about HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention, and HIV testing. For those just diagnosed with HIV, find information on what to do next. Learn how to stay healthy while living with HIV. (AIDS.gov)
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!