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World AIDS Day 2014

Mother and daughter in Mombasa, Kenya

Photo: David Snyder/CDC Foundation

Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation

On December 1, people throughout the world observe World AIDS Day, an opportunity for the global community to honor those living with HIV; the families, friends, caregivers, and communities who support them; and those who have lost their lives to AIDS. The theme for 2014 – "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation" – reflects the drive to focus on interventions that work and partner with a broad range of stakeholders to achieve control of the epidemic and move closer to an AIDS-free generation.

Our Global Response

An estimated 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. New HIV infections have fallen 38 percent since 2001, with nearly three-fourths of the 2.1 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan African countries. 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.

Mother and baby in Cambodia

Without lifesaving antiretroviral drugs, 50 percent of HIV-infected children will die before age 2 and 80 percent will die before age 5. Photo: David Snyder/CDC Foundation.

CDC's global HIV/AIDS activities are grounded in science and 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., healthcare 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 35 percent to 1.5 million in 2013 since a peak of 2.4 million in 2005. 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 2001, to 240,000 in 2013, a significant achievement 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: HIV Treatment Works

The HIV Treatment Works campaign features people living with HIV who are talking about how HIV care and treatment helps them stay healthy and protect others. Visit Act Against AIDS for more campaign resources.

Our Domestic Response

There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. The number of new HIV diagnoses has remained relatively stable from 2008-2012, but the numbers are still too high, especially among gay and bisexual men, blacks/African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos. For example, of the 47,989 people diagnosed with HIV in 2012:

  • 64 percent were gay and bisexual men.
  • 47 percent were blacks/African Americans.
  • 18.5 percent were Hispanics/Latinos.

About 14 percent of all people living with HIV in the United States don't know they have the virus, and the only way to find out is to be tested. Fortunately, HIV testing has never been easier due to rapid tests and home testing kits available online or from drugstores. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and that those at higher risk get tested at least once a year. Gay and bisexual men may benefit from getting tested more often, such as every 3 to 6 months. CDC also encourages people who are at high risk but do not have HIV to be aware of new approaches to HIV prevention, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

For all people living with HIV, it’s important to get and stay in HIV medical care, which includes taking medication, which can reduce the presence of the HIV virus in the body to very low levels, a state known as "viral suppression." For people living with HIV, achieving viral suppression can improve health, increase life expectancy, and reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to others.

On November 25, 2014, CDC released its latest report on the HIV Continuum of Care in a new edition of Vital Signs, which includes a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Vital Signs: HIV Diagnosis, Care, and Treatment Among Persons Living with HIV — United States, 2011, and an accompanying fact sheet, HIV Care Saves Lives, Viral Suppression is Key. Visit the Vital Signs website to learn more. According to the Vital Signs report, of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2011, less than a third had their virus under control through effective care and treatment.

To encourage people living with HIV to get in care and stay in care, CDC recently released HIV Treatment Works, a new campaign under the Act Against AIDS initiative.

CDC's overall approach to HIV prevention and control in the United States includes 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; and providing training in HIV prevention and treatment.

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 with them in a unified effort to prevent the spread of HIV among this generation, and the generations to come.