The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988. I guess it is a marker of how long I have been around medicine that I remember the approval of AZT; I remember ICUs full of people with Pneumocystis pneumonia; and I remember how patients with AIDS became a relative rarity on the inpatient medicine service with the advent of HAART. It has truly been remarkable to witness HIV infection go from death sentence to manageable chronic disease.
Now, for the sobering facts:
1.1 million people aged 13 and older are living with HIV infection in the US; nearly 1 in 5 of these people is unaware of being infected (2010 data from CDC);
Men who have sex with men account for over 60% of the new cases, and the number of infections increased 12% between 2008 and 2010;
African Americans and bear a disproportionate share of the disease.
The 2013 theme for World AIDS Day is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” CDC has initiated several campaigns that are aimed at educating our patients about HIV infection http://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/campaigns/index.html
Resources from the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health are here: http://www.ct.gov/dph/cwp/view.asp?a=3135&q=387010&dphNav_GID=1601
Remember that testing is recommended at least once for everyone between ages 13 and 64, with annual testing for those at higher risk.