Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. And, while we still have no cure for HIV/AIDS, there are still some reasons to celebrate this year.
According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, new HIV infections have declined by 17% worldwide over the past eight years.
Also, per the same report, there are more people living longer with HIV than ever before, due to the benefits of antiretroviral therapy. And the number of AIDS-related deaths has declined by over 10% over the past five years as more people gained access to long-term treatment.
Here in the U.S., President Obama's recent lifting of the travel and immigration ban on people with HIV/AIDS was a big step forward in overcoming the stigma of the disease and the discrimination that its victims face.
This good news is no reason for complacency, however. After all, every day we still have 7,397 people contracting HIV. That's 308 every hour.
We must not rest until the disease is eradicated. That that will require a cure. In the meantime, however, we need to continue to work on education, prevention, and treatment worldwide.