On December first, the global community observes World AIDS Day, to raise awareness of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
According to a new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, or UNAIDS, almost 63 million people have been infected with the HIV since 1981. And at the end of 2009, some 33.3 million people were living with HIV, including 2.5 million children.
"World AIDS Day is both a day of remembrance and a day of celebration," said U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby. "We must all keep in our thoughts those who have lost their lives to AIDS. It’s in their honor that we work every day to provide HIV prevention, treatment and care to millions across the globe.
"Yet, it’s also a day to celebrate those whose lives have been improved and saved thanks to global efforts to fight this devastating disease," said Dr. Goosby.
"Globally, about 5.2 million people in low- and middle-income countries were on HIV treatment at the end of 2009. The United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief—or PEPFAR as it is commonly known—was a major contributor to the increase.
Dr. Goosby added that the U.S. and its partner countries will soon support measures that will help more than twelve million people avoid new HIV infections. The program will also provide HIV treatment for more than 4 million people, and care for over twelve million people.
"On this World AIDS Day, we honor the lives lost and celebrate the lives saved. But we do not dare rest," said Dr. Goosby. "Working together, we must remain dedicated to building on success by making smart investments to save even more lives."