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World AIDS Day — December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day draws attention to the current status of the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic worldwide. The theme for this year's observance on December 1 is Leading with Science, Uniting for Action.

The first cases of AIDS were reported 30 years ago in the June 5, 1981 issue of MMWR. Since then, the epidemic has claimed the lives of nearly 30 million persons worldwide (1), and an estimated 34 million persons currently are living with HIV infection (2).

Global efforts, including the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (in which CDC is an implementing partner), have resulted in an estimated 6.6 million persons in low-income and middle-income countries currently receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS at the end of 2010. Compared with 2009, this represents the largest ever annual increase in the number of persons accessing HIV treatment (1.4 million) (2).

In the United States, approximately 575,000 persons diagnosed with AIDS have died since the first cases were reported 30 years ago (3), and approximately 50,000 persons become infected with HIV each year (4). An estimated 1.2 million persons in the United States are living with HIV infection (5).


  1. World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory HIV/AIDS data, 2009. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2011.
  2. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). UNAIDS World AIDS Day report, 2011. Geneva, Switzerland: Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); 2011. Available at Accessed November 21, 2011.
  3. CDC. HIV surveillance report 2009. Vol. 21. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011.
  4. CDC. HIV surveillance---United States, 1981--2008. MMWR 2011;60:689--93.
  5. Prejean J, Song R, Hernandez A, et al. Estimated HIV incidence in the United States, 2006--2009. PLoS One 2011;6:e17502.

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