Today is World AIDS Day 2011.

World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have lost their lives to the battle.

World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. The first one was held in 1988.

An estimated 33.3 million people have HIV in the world today. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive and deadly pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition than we did before. Still, too many people don’t know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV. Stigma and discrimination are still a harsh reality for many people living with HIV.

World AIDS Day serves to remind the public and Government that HIV has not gone away. There’s still a critical need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness.

This World AIDS Day, we’re being asked to “Act Aware”. Acting aware means finding out the facts about HIV and using this knowledge to protect yourself and others from infection.

Many people do not understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, or the reality of living with the virus today.

Want to do something about this? Visit HIVaware – an interactive new website that provides all the information everyone needs to know about HIV.

HIV Facts

HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus that attacks the body’s immune system – the body’s defense against diseases.

HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes, or other injecting drug equipment.

There are now more people than ever living with HIV, with around a 25 percent of those people unaware they have the virus.

Here are a few more facts about HIV:

  • Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
  • You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
  • HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
  • Only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
  • You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
  • There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV

There is still much more you can learn about HIV by visiting HIVaware or the official World AIDS Day website.