World AIDS Day

Diego López – Chief of Production

World AIDS Day, commemorated on December 1 of each year, is dedicated to publicizing the global AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

December 1 was chosen because the first case of AIDS was diagnosed on this day in 1981. Since then, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in the world. recorded history.

The concept of dedicating a day to the fight against AIDS in the world originated in the World Summit of Ministries of Health in 1988, within the programs for the prevention of AIDS. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.

From 1988 to 2004, International AIDS Day was organized by UNAIDS (UNAIDS), an organization that chose a theme for each year, after consultation with other organizations. In 2005, UNAIDS handed over responsibility for the commemoration of this day to the World AIDS Campaign (WAC), an independent organization.

On this day, ceremonies are held to remember the dead victims of HIV/AIDS. Governments and health professionals also hold special events on this day such as lectures and speeches on AIDS related topics. Since 1995 the President of the United States has officially proclaimed World AIDS Day.

The red ribbon is an international symbol designed to show support for the fight against AIDS and solidarity with the victims of the disease.


Global HIV statistics according to UNAIDS

  • 38.4 million [33.9 million–43.8 million] people were living with HIV globally in 2021.
  • 1.5 million [1.1 million–2.0 million] people became infected with HIV in 2021.
  • 650,000 [510,000–860,000] people born with AIDS-related illnesses in 2021.
  • 28.7 million people have access to antiretroviral therapy in 2021.
  • 84.2 million [64.0 million–113.0 million] people have been infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic.
  • 40.1 million [33.6 million–48.6 million] people have died of AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.



At the end of 2021, US$21.4 billion (in constant 2019 dollars) was available for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries – around 60% of total resources came from domestic sources.

UNAIDS estimates that US$29 billion (in constant 2019 US$) will be used by 2025 for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries, including countries that will previously be used in high-income countries, in order to end AIDS as a threat to global public health.

Tackling inequalities, as well as being central to ending AIDS, will help promote the human rights of key populations and people living with HIV, better prepare societies to defeat COVID-19 and other pandemics, and will support economic recovery and stability. If we keep our promise to tackle inequality, we will save millions of lives and benefit society as a whole.

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