**FILE** Courtesy of hiv.gov

In 2020, an estimated 37 million people now live with HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The AIDS epidemic has continued to affect millions of people but there remain ways to take preventative measures to avoid becoming infected. AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, counts as a result of the most advanced stage of HIV, also known as human immunodeficiency virus. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) represents a method to treat HIV by taking a series of medicines through an HIV regimen. In their definition of ART, hiv.gov says “A person’s initial HIV regimen generally includes three antiretroviral drugs from at least two different HIV drug classes.”

“Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice” served as the theme in the U.S. for World AIDS Day 2021.

“On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to building on the progress of the last four decades, upholding and advancing human rights, supporting research, science, and data-driven solutions, expanding access to housing, education, and economic empowerment and fighting stigma and discrimination,” President Biden said on World AIDS Day.

Biden announced his new strategy on World AIDS Day for combatting the AIDS epidemic. The president said his “administration is committed to helping the world end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.”

In his message for World AIDS Day, the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom, said WHO “calls on governments and citizens to use every tool in the toolbox to narrow inequalities, prevent HIV infection, save lives and end the AIDS epidemic.”

According to WHO, the African Region serves as the most affected region for people living with HIV/AIDS “with 25.7 million people living with HIV in 2018.” Eastern and southern African subregions hold the most infections compared to other areas of the continent, according to WHO. Additionally, they added that “the continuing decline in AIDS-related deaths in the African Region is largely driven by the steady scale-up of antiretroviral therapy.”

In the U.S., the National Institute of Health’s HIV info said the main forms of transmission of HIV continue to be through “having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV.” Another main form of transmission remains by “sharing injection drug equipment (works), such as needles, with someone who has HIV.”

Getting tested for HIV and other STDs, using condoms, not injecting drugs are a few of many ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV, according to NIH’s Health Info.

“No one living with HIV should suffer the undeserved guilt and prejudice that too many continue to experience. We must innovate and explore new ways to help address HIV/AIDS in communities here at home and around the world,” Biden said.

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