On the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the news on the HIV virus emanating from the United States is grim.
Researchers have found that few people - a mere 28 percent - of the 1.2 million Americans infected with the virus have it under control.
The alarming news comes from a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has also found that one in five adults who are infected with HIV virus are unaware of it.
Health officials have expressed concern over the daunting news, as it increases the risk that HIV positive individuals will spread the disease onto others.
Effective treatment of the virus can place it into long-term remission and dramatically reduces transmission, however, only 62 percent of those who know that they are infected with the disease are linked to HIV care.
The biggest step in preventing the problem is becoming aware of the virus and using the proper medications to suppress it, as proper treatment of the disease can reduce the risk of transmission by 96 percent.
However, with 50,000 new cases reported in the U.S. every year, the crisis is not abating.
Globally, the incidences of new infections have decreased, even in some of the most HIV-impacted regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa.
An estimated 33 million people live with HIV worldwide.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently called for an “AIDS-free generation” calling for the use of anti-viral drugs, condoms, circumcision, and other methods to halt the spread of the epidemic.
“The goal of an AIDS-free generation is ambitious, but it is possible,” Clinton said in a November speech at the National Institutes of Health.
“An AIDS-free generation would be one of the greatest gifts the United States could give to our collective future,” Clinton proclaimed.
The theme for the 2011 World AIDS Day is “Getting to Zero.” The focus of the theme is to achieve three targets: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.
With proper treatment and access to treatment, people around the world can dramatically improve the quality of their lives while suppressing the spread of the deadly disease.
However, one of the main barriers to halting HIV transmission are the stigma and discrimination that are linked to the virus.
“Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world,” According to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
The HIV virus has killed more than 30 million people since 1981 and has been one of the worst pandemics in global history.