I think it's both exciting and disappointing at the same time. Exciting that we have come a long way in 20 years, but disappointing that we still have to "celebrate" World AIDS Day to still get the message out.
I pull some statistics from today's CNN article on World AIDS Day.
- On the first World AIDS Day, December 1, 1988, there was nearly 80,000 reported AIDS cases in the United States, thousands more were living HIV, and AIDS was reported in more that 135 countries. There was only one anti-HIV medicine in 1988, AZT. The life span of patients was measured in months.
- In 2008, there are more than 2 dozen anti-HIV drugs, life spans can now be measures by decades. Scientifically proven prevention approaches have been deployed with great success in the US and around the world.
- Global outreach programs, such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria along with nongovernment organizations have reached millions of people in low and mid-income countries.
- 2.7 million people were infected in 2007 alone.
- Globally 33 million people are living HIV+.
- More than 1 million people are living with HIV in the US.
- 56,000 people in the US are infected each year in the US.
- In low and middle-income countries, less than 1/3 of people in need of anti-HIV therapy are receiving it.
- 1 in 5 people at risk for HIV infection have access to prevention services.
- In the US, more than 1/5 of people living with HIV are UNAWARE
- One exciting concept is a pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, giving a preventive doses of anti-HIV drugs to individuals who are at an increases risk of HIV infection (still in experimental strategy).