On Dec.1, the global community commemorates the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day by remembering the millions of people lost to AIDS and renewing the commitment to fight the disease. Since the inception of World AIDS Day in 1988, considerable progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This included the development of more than two dozen drugs to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and the implementation of scientifically proven strategies to prevent people from becoming infected with HIV. Furthermore, programs such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and others have given millions of people in low and mid-income countries access to HIV treatments and services where none existed.
Despite this progress, however, the scourge of AIDS continues. In 2007, 2.7 million people became infected with HIV; currently, there are approximately 33 million people living with HIV, largely in the developing world. In the United States, more than one million people are living with HIV and 56,000 become infected with the virus each year.