World AIDS Day: Is an AIDS-free generation possible

Dec. 1, 2014—As people across the planet continue to be infected with HIV, the thought of an AIDS-free generation may seem far off. However, this year’s World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 strives to educate people about HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—and encourage a future where AIDS no longer exists.

What is World AIDS Day?

The theme of the 2014 World AIDS Day is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), biomedical options are bolstering efforts to curb HIV through prevention, testing and treatment. But while new HIV infections are declining, the overall infection rate is still too high.

The rate of new infections is especially high for some groups, according to CDC. For example, of the 47,500 Americans newly infected in 2010:

  • 63 percent were men who have sex with men
  • 44 percent were African Americans

CDC is working to decrease these numbers with targeted efforts. It continues to expand prevention services for these groups.

According to CDC, individuals can greatly lower their risk of HIV infection by :

  • Knowing their HIV status and the status of their partners
  • Not engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners

While taking these steps is imperative to prevention, CDC also urges people at high risk for HIV to learn about additional ways to prevent HIV and talk to your doctor about them:

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Taking antiretroviral medications before HIV exposure can reduce the risk of infection for people who routinely have unprotected sex with someone who might be HIV-positive.
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): Taking antiretroviral medicines as soon as possible after possible exposure to HIV can also help prevent HIV transmission.

Prevention, testing and treatment are key to reaching the goal of an AIDS-free generation.

Reducing your risk

Taking steps to prevent HIV transmission is something we can all do. In an effort to help create an AIDS-free generation, use World AIDS Day to renew your commitment to protect yourself and others.

In the United States, HIV is mostly spread through sex or sharing drug needles. You can reduce your risk of getting HIV by making safe decisions.

 

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