Today is World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, with an estimated 38.6 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005, of which more than half a million (570,000) were children.
Even though AIDS fears have been slightly downgraded recently, the disease is still one of the most pressing global health issues. Over 33 million people worldwide live with HIV/AIDS, the majority (22.5m) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country with the largest AIDS problem is South Africa, followed by Nigeria and India.
More and more resources are being pledged in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, but some issues — such as poverty, lack of education, and the Catholic Church and other religious conservatives being opposed to safety measures such as condoms — continue to plague the anti-HIV/AIDS effort. Governments also need to stop denying they have an AIDS problem, like we've seen Russia, China, and many African governments do. We need to teach about, treat, and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS; there must be a coordinated effort between local and national governments, NGOs, and religious and community authorities in this mission.