Humankind has made strides toward understanding AIDS and helping people to protect themselves from HIV. Nonetheless, observances like World AIDS Day are critical to prevent more HIV infections and for finding a cure for AIDS.
AIDS: The Current State
Although events like World AIDS Day are raising awareness, HIV remains a health crisis. Estimates suggest that 36.7 million people around the world were living with HIV in 2015. AIDS-related illnesses were responsible for more than one million deaths in the same year. The vast majority of diagnoses happen in low-income countries. Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly affected, where an approximate 46 percent of all new HIV infections were reported in 2015.
World AIDS Day
An event like World AIDS Day is essential for places like Africa where so many new cases of HIV and AIDS are being reported. Of the more than two million new cases reported there in 2015, roughly 150,000 were children. They became infected while in the womb, in the midst of childbirth or while breastfeeding. World AIDS Day efforts are especially critical in places where poverty is rampant and healthcare is scarce.
The Continuing Need for World AIDS Day
Statistics suggest that there is much work to be done when it comes to preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS among adults. While some countries have seen a decline in the number of new diagnoses, other nations show little change at all. Places like Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa report that the number of new HIV cases is on the rise. This indicates an ongoing and urgent need for further efforts.
Despite some sobering statistics, there is good news as well. More people are receiving treatment for HIV than ever before. With continuing research, a cure for AIDS may be on the horizon.