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World AIDS Day and Its Significance

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year to honor AIDS victims. It also focuses on issues surrounding HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

AIDS stands for "acquired immune deficiency syndrome" or "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome" and denotes a condition, which results from the damage done by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) to the immune system. The condition was first identified in 1981 and the name "AIDS" was first introduced on July 27, 1982.

Every year this day is observed with a specific theme. The theme of World AIDS Day 2021 is End inequalities. End AIDS”. With a special focus on reaching people left behind, WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services.

Tackling inequalities is a long-standing global promise, the urgency of which has only increased. In 2015, all countries pledged to reduce inequalities within and between countries as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026: End Inequalities, End AIDS and the Political Declaration on AIDS adopted at the 2021 United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS have ended inequalities at their core.

There were an estimated 37.7 million people living with HIV at the end of 2020. In 2020, 680000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.5 million people acquired HIV, according to WHO.

The government should continue to strengthen the relationships with community-based organizations; networks of people with HIV; clinicians and researchers; and state, local, and foreign governments and support innovations that address individual, community, and structural factors and inequities that drive the HIV epidemic.

On this day, as we reflect on those we have lost to AIDS and we honor the nearly 38 million people living with HIV.


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