Every year on December 1st, individuals and organizations from around the world come together to bring attention the global AIDS epidemic.
Around the world, 33 milllion people are living with HIV, with nearly 7,500 new infections every single day. In the United States alone, an estimated 1.1 million people are living with the disease and 56,000 new cases arise annually. Studies have revealed a disturbing trend: 1/3 of those with HIV are young people ages 13-29. That means four young people are infected every single hour. In 2009, only 35% of young adults ages 18 to 24 report ever having an HIV test (the majority of young adults are sexually active by this point).
The US government estimates that approximately on in five persons living with HIV in the U.S. is unaware of his or her infection and may be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. Since anyone can be at risk for HIV, the CDC recommends that adults and adolescents between the ages of 13 and 64 years of age be routinely screened for HIV infection. Pregnant women in the U.S. should be screened for HIV infection as part of their routine prenatal testing, but a shocking 40% are not.
World AIDS Day is a time to commit to expanding the reach of effective prevention efforts to those at risk and those living with HIV in order to stop the further spread of HIV in the United States and around the world.
What can you do?
It starts with you. Get tested for HIV. To find a testing site center near you, visit hivtest.org or text your zip code to Know It (566948). Testing can be done with a cotton swab and may be anonymous.