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World AIDS Day 2015

Young girlThe Time to Act Is Now

December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people to work actively and collaboratively with partners around the world to raise awareness about HIV and help us move closer to the goal of an AIDS-free generation. This year's theme, “The Time to Act Is Now,” calls us to act with urgency to implement the latest high-impact, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies.

Our Global Response

An estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. As a science-based public health and disease prevention agency, CDC provides support that helps more than 60 countries strengthen their national HIV/AIDS programs and build sustainable public health systems. CDC conducts these activities through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) , the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.

Recent scientific breakthroughs now point the way to achieving an AIDS-free generation, a goal championed by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. CDC, through PEPFAR, is working to achieve that inspiring goal through proven science, smart investments, and shared responsibility with partner countries.

Global efforts have resulted in approximately 13.5 million persons in low-income and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in 2014, an increase from 2013. Globally, more than 15 million people are on ART.

New HIV infections have fallen 35 percent since 2000, with 66 percent of the 2 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan African countries, where women account for more than half the total number of those living with HIV.

Doctor with mother and young daughter

New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent worldwide since 2000.

CDC's global HIV/AIDS activities are grounded in science and are critical to saving lives and preventing new infections. Core activities focus on:

  • Providing proven combination prevention interventions, including prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, antiretroviral treatment, and voluntary medical male circumcision.
  • Reaching orphans and vulnerable children, as well as other neglected and hard-to-reach populations.
  • Building and enhancing health systems, including sustainable human resources for health (e.g., health care workers) and accurate, reliable laboratory systems.

CDC's innovative programs are helping countries collect and use more detailed data to target HIV treatment services to where they are needed most and to reduce the cost of delivering services. These activities also support greater accountability and transparency in the use of U.S. government funds. CDC works with key partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria —to which the United States is the largest contributor—to ensure complementary programming for maximum impact of investments.

CDC has contributed to saving millions of lives through PEPFAR. Across the globe, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. The increased life expectancies of people in their most productive years have helped build more secure families and bolstered fragile nations devastated by the HIV epidemic. New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent since 2000. Worldwide, 220,000 children became newly infected with HIV in 2014, down from 520,000 in 2000. This significant achievement is due largely to evidence-based programming to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Still, millions of people around the globe are waiting for access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs.

The United States has made an unwavering commitment to work with partner governments and other stakeholders to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS. The goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation worldwide is a shared responsibility, with partner countries in the central role.

Poster: Let's Stop HIV Together. I am a son, a designer, and a business owner. And I am living with HIV. Kevin.

The Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign fights stigma and seeks to ensure that all Americans know the facts about HIV. Visit Act Against AIDS for campaign resources.

Our Domestic Response

Around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States, and 1 in 8 don’t know it. The number of new HIV diagnoses has remained fairly stable in recent years.

More tools than ever are available to prevent HIV, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who are at very high risk for getting HIV. Taking PrEP medicine daily can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it can reduce the risk by more than 70%. The latest edition of Vital Signs, released on November 24, 2015, provides more information on populations who could benefit from PrEP. According to the report, many people in the United States, especially many gay and bisexual men and injection drug users, are at high risk for HIV and could benefit from PrEP.

This year, the White House updated the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to 2020. On World AIDS Day, it will release a federal action plan to implement the strategy. CDC supports the strategy's vision of a nation where new HIV infections are rare. CDC's HIV prevention efforts in the United States target the populations most at risk and include:

  • Providing funding and technical assistance for health departments.
  • Conducting surveillance and behavioral research.
  • Developing guidelines for HIV treatment, surveillance, and laboratory procedures.
  • Evaluating programs.
  • Conducting outreach and communication campaigns through the Act Against AIDS initiative, including the campaign Let's Stop HIV Together, which fights stigma and seeks to ensure that all Americans know the facts about HIV. Let's Stop HIV Together includes many personal stories about living with HIV.
  • Providing training in HIV prevention and treatment.

Also, CDC, along with other agencies and organizations, will convene the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference, December 6-9, 2015. This conference will facilitate collaboration among scientists, health care providers, community workers, and others who are working to stop the spread of HIV in the United States.

CDC continues to work with our many partners to bring the best available prevention and treatment tools to the communities that need them most, at home and around the world. On this World AIDS Day, we are pleased to join our partners to take unified action to prevent the spread of HIV.