December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of the observance of World AIDS Day—a day for people to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died from AIDS-related complications. The theme for the 2018 observance is “Saving Lives Through Leadership and Partnership.”
World AIDS Day, the first-ever global health day initially held in 1988, is an important reminder that the HIV epidemic continues, while acknowledging the contributions of activists, public health workers, health care providers, researchers, victims and survivors toward the fight to end HIV. The Ohio Department of Health HIV/AIDS Surveillance and HIV Prevention, and programs are engaged in this fight.
Scientific advances in HIV treatment now allow someone living with the virus to maintain an undetectable viral load, live long healthy lives and prevent them from transmitting the virus to partners and loved ones. Still, around 1,000 people are diagnosed with HIV each year in Ohio. Stigma and discrimination impair our response, yet we continue to increase access to prevention tools and awareness of how individuals can protect themselves and others.
In Ohio, more than 35,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV since the start of the epidemic. Around the world, more than 35 million people have died of AIDS-related complications since it was first identified in 1984. To date, it is one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
For more information, follow the World AIDS Day conversation on social media at #WAD2018.