World AIDS Day is a global health day introduced by the World Health Organization in 1988. It is observed on 1 December each year and aims at raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by HIV infection. The international symbol of HIV awareness and support is a red ribbon.
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, ECDC launches the latest surveillance data on HIV in the European Region
. The report, prepared jointly with the WHO Regional Office for Europe, presents data on HIV and AIDS for the whole European Region, covering a population of nearly 900 million people, of which around 508 million live in the EU/EEA.
The day is also an opportunity to disseminate information about the status of the HIV pandemic and to organise activities.
In 2012, EU/EEA countries accounted for more than 29 000 new HIV infections, while reported AIDS cases show a steady decline of 48% between 2006 and 2012.
Data show that 49% that tested positive for HIV in the EU/EEA – nearly every second person – is diagnosed late in the course of their infection. These people need antiretroviral therapy (ART) right away because their immune system is already starting to fail. Providing ART earlier allows people with HIV to live longer and healthier lives, and reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
Why is HIV testing important?
- There is no cure for HIV but early diagnosis allows access to lifesaving treatment
- Early diagnosis prolongs healthy life and reduces cost to the healthcare system
- To protect partners and unborn children: HIV transmission can be prevented once status is known