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World AIDS Day, 1 December

Ever since its inception in 1988, the focus of the World AIDS Day campaign has been to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. The 2009 World AIDS Day theme is 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. The key slogans adopted for 2009 are: I am accepted. I am safe. I am getting treatment. I am well. I am living my rights.

• Each day 7400 people contract HIV

According to UNAIDS estimates, 33.4 million people live with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 2.7 million people got infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS. Half of the people who contract HIV do so before they turn 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

The overwhelming majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. However, HIV is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world. Sex workers face special risks, further enhanced when condoms are confiscated by the police as evidence, an unlawful and extremely hazardous, yet widespread measure.
The protection of human rights is a fundamental effort to combat the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Human rights violations increase the spread of the disease, putting marginalized groups, such as intravenous drug users and sex workers at a higher risk. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.

• Global scorecard on state responses to women’s needs

AIDS Accountability International has released the first ever global scorecard analyzing country responses to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of women in the context of the AIDS epidemic. The reason is that HIV and AIDS is the leading cause of death and disease in women of reproductive age worldwide. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to, and disproportionately affected by the disease globally. Lack of accountability for addressing women’s needs hampers efforts to measure the impact of different approaches, reward effective efforts, adjust or stop ineffective ones and ensure good use of resources.