Today is World AIDS Day, when institutions and people around the world come together to recognize the progress we have made in addressing HIV, and the hurdles that must still be overcome. This year’s theme is Leadership. Commitment. Impact., calling on world leaders to rededicate themselves to addressing the epidemic through evidence based methods and resources.
Last year, funding from donor governments fell from $8.6 billion in 2014 to $7.5 billion in 2015, threatening the world’s goal to end AIDS by 2030.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 1.2 million Americans living with HIV, and approximately 1 in 8 are unaware of their condition.
Globally, there are approximately 36.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS, though only 18.2 million were accessing antiretroviral therapy. More than 1 million people die because of AIDS every year, and nearly 2.1 million people become newly infected with HIV. Two thirds of new HIV cases come from those living in sub-Saharan Africa, where girls make up 71 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents.
At the 2016 International AIDS Conference held in South Africa in July, policy makers, healthcare professionals and persons living with HIV met to discuss and raise awareness on the violence and stigmatization that hinders the ability of vulnerable communities to access HIV prevention and treatment.
There were an estimated 17.8 million women in the world living with HIV in 2015. Studies show that violence against women and girls increases their risk of contracting HIV, and that women who reside in countries where laws protecting them are weak are at a greater risk of acquiring the virus.