World AIDS Day has been celebrated since 1988. It is about increasing awareness of HIV and AIDS, education and fighting prejudice. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there were 34 million people living with HIV at the end of 2010, and during the year 2,7 million people became newly infected with the virus. It is estimated that 1,8 million people died of AIDS in 2010.
New HIV infections have been significantly reduced or have stabilised in most parts of the world. In sub-Saharan Africa the number of new HIV infections has dropped by more than 26%, from the height of the epidemic in 1997, led by a one third drop in South Africa, the country with the largest number of new HIV infections in the world (2011 UNAIDS World AIDS Day report).
Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.