World AIDS Day 2016: "Take the Challenge. End AIDS"
World AIDS Day is held on 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. The South-West Regional Health Authority joins with the rest of the world in raising awareness about this disease. Globally an estimated 35 million [29.6 million–40.8 million] people have died from AIDS-related illnesses from the onset of the epidemic (end 2015). In 2015, there were 36.7 million [34.0 million–39.8 million] people living with HIV. Since the start of the epidemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses making it one of the most destructive 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. Despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.