Never forget: World AIDS Day

A terrible epidemic is remembered around the globe today.

World AIDS Day is commemorated across the planet.
World AIDS Day is commemorated across the planet.
lvcandy / Getty Images

Today – December 1 – is World AIDS Day, observed around the world to focus attention on the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The first recognised cases of AIDs were reported in the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on June 5, 1981. The illness, undefined at that point, was labelled pneumocystis pneumonia.

Today’s MMWR reports that there are currently about 36.7 million people living with HIV infection, including 1.8 million diagnosed during 2016. Despite a drop in the AIDS-related death rate of almost 50% since 2005, the disease claimed one million lives in the last full calendar year.

The fight against the virus continues, with 19.5 million people receiving antiretroviral medication in 2016 – up more than two million on the previous year.

For Australian readers, World AIDS Day events are being held around the country today. A full list can be found here.

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