Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer

Persons using assistive technology might not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, please send e-mail to: Type 508 Accommodation and the title of the report in the subject line of e-mail.

World AIDS Day, December 1, 2003

Live and Let Live is the theme for this year's World AIDS Day, December 1, 2003. This theme highlights the obstacles that stigma and discrimination pose to the success of prevention and care programs for persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Discrimination against persons with infectious diseases is not new (1), and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) continues to be a stigmatizing health issue for those living with the disease (2).

Stigma and discrimination might pose barriers that keep persons at risk for HIV infection from getting tested (3). In the United States, approximately one fourth of the estimated 850,000--950,000 persons living with HIV are unaware of their infection (4) and thus are not receiving needed treatment and prevention services.

Worldwide, an estimated 42 million persons were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2002 (5). As in the United States, stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS remain key challenges to effective public health prevention programs. Information about HIV/AIDS is available from CDC at and, or by telephone, 800-342-2437.


  1. Valdiserri R. HIV/AIDS stigma: an impediment to public health. Am J Public Health 2002;92:341--2.
  2. Herek GM, Capitanio JP, Widaman KF. HIV-related stigma and knowledge in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1991--1999. Am J Public Health 2002;92:371--7.
  3. Chesney M, Smith A. Critical delays in HIV testing and care: the potential role of stigma. Am Behavioral Scientist 1999;42:1162--74.
  4. Fleming P, Byers RH, Sweeney PA, et al. HIV prevalence in the United States, 2000 [Abstract]. 9th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Seattle, Washington, February 24--28, 2002.
  5. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). AIDS Epidemic Update 2002. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, December 2002.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

Disclaimer   All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from ASCII text into HTML. This conversion may have resulted in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users should not rely on this HTML document, but are referred to the electronic PDF version and/or the original MMWR paper copy for the official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to

Page converted: 11/26/2003


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A


Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 11/26/2003