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World AIDS Day is held annually on December 1 to encourage people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died from HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day named, held for the first time in 1988.

  • Globally there are an estimated 37 million people who have the virus.
  • Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.1 Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV, and we understand so much more about the condition. Yet new diagnoses rates, even in developed Western countries, suggest people still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others. In addition, stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the virus.