Raising Awareness on International AIDS Day

World AIDS DayWorld AIDS Day establishes an opportunity for people around the world to stand up, unite and fight against HIV. Resources and programs provide the opportunity for awareness, testing and prevention methods to be shared widely on this day.

Around 1.2 million people are currently living with HIV in the United States and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

On World AIDS day we pay tribute to the millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world, and remember those who lost the fight to the disease. HIV testing can save lives. Through continued commitment to worldwide research and prevention efforts, we can achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation and prevent transmission of the virus to millions of people.

This year’s theme (as is true for each World AIDS Day between 2011-2015) is “Getting to Zero.” The theme highlights the promise of new research and prevention efforts that help stop the spread of HIV with the goal of reaching a world with zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS -related deaths. Recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year.

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has also proclaimed December 1, 2012 World AIDS Day in Georgia.

In recognition and participation of this day, the Georgia Department of Public Health is hosting its first HIV/AIDS Twitter chat on Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 12 noon-1pm. Items of discussion include the AIDS epidemic in Georgia and what’s being done about it statewide.

On, Saturday, December 1st, show your support by getting educated on the virus, get tested and/or by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.

“This Saturday, December 1st, on World AIDS Day, we will come together as a global community to stand with people affected by HIV/AIDS, to remember those we have lost, and to renew our commitment to ending the pandemic once and for all.  We have made great strides in combating this disease, and an AIDS-free generation is within sight.  Here in the United States we are implementing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy and concentrating our efforts in communities where HIV rates are highest, including among gay men, Latinos, and African Americans. We are investing in comprehensive HIV prevention and care, including through the Affordable Care Act, to prevent infection and ensure that all people living with HIV have access to life-extending treatment.  Testing for HIV remains a top priority, and thanks to ongoing scientific advancements, finding out your HIV status has never been easier and treatment is more effective than ever.”  – President Barack Obama, November 29, 2012

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